AFRL researches autonomous, stretchable conductor

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has developed liquid metal systems which autonomously change structure so that they become better conductors in response to strain. The material recently developed by AFRL scientists, called Polymerized Liquid Metal Networks, retains its properties as it's stretched.

Image courtesy Second Bay Studios.

The liquid metal networks can be strained up to 700%, autonomously respond to that strain to keep the resistance between those two states virtually the same, and still return to their original state. It is all due to the self-organized nanostructure within the material that performs these responses automatically.

Wires maintaining their properties under these different kinds of mechanical conditions could be applied to next-generation wearable electronics. AFRL researchers also evaluated the material’s heating properties in a form factor resembling a heated glove and retained a nearly constant temperature with a constant applied voltage.