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.”
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.