Scientists have recently developed a design that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size, four times greater than is possible with today’s technology.
…One challenge facing these researchers has been overcoming a loss of conductivity in stretchable electronics. Circuits made from solid metals that are on the market today can survive a small amount of stretch, but their electrical conductivity plummets by 100 times when stretched. “This conductivity loss really defeats the point of stretchable electronics,” Huang said.
Huang’s team has found a way to overcome these challenges. First, they created a highly porous three-dimensional structure using a polymer material, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), that can stretch to three times its original size. Then they placed a liquid metal (EGaIn) inside the pores, allowing electricity to flow consistently even when the material is excessively stretched.
The result is a material that is both highly stretchable and extremely conductive.