A combination of water-dissolving thread and Ecoflex elastomer has produced a stretchy sewn zigzagging circuit capable of stretching 500%, according to researchers at Purdue:
Now, a Purdue team has come up with a far simpler, less-costly alternative: Use a standard sewing machine to create ultra-stretchable interconnects out of conventional wire. The wire is sewn in a zigzag pattern and embedded in a rubbery, stretchable “elastomer” called Ecoflex, manufactured by Smooth-On Inc.
The interconnect is capable of stretching 500 percent of its length, which could allow for new applications. Researchers used their technique to demonstrate a stretchable “inductive strain sensor” for monitoring expansion of an inflatable urinary catheter balloon. Such an elastic technology could have applications in stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes. (Purdue University photo/Babak Ziaie)
The researchers have demonstrated that the interconnect is capable of stretching 500 percent of its length.
“This compares to only a few percent for an ordinary metal connection,” said Ziaie, leading the research with doctoral student Rahim Rahimi. “The structures are also highly robust, capable of withstanding thousands of repeated stretch-and-release cycles.”