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Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) American researchers have created super stretchable wires that can be expanded up to eight times their length, for potential use in headphones and phone chargers among others.
"Previous efforts to create stretchable wires focus on embedding metals or other electrical conductors in elastic polymers, but that creates a trade-off," says Michael Dickey, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University.
"Increasing the amount of metal improves the conductivity (power to transmit heat, electricity or sound), of the composite, but diminishes its elasticity. Our approach keeps the materials separate, so you have maximum conductivity without impairing elasticity," says Dicky, the journal Advanced Functional Materials reports.
"In short, our wires are orders of magnitude more stretchable than the most conductive wires, and at least an order of magnitude more conductive than the most stretchable wires currently in the literature," adds Dicky.
Dickey notes that one challenge needs to be addressed before the wires can be considered for popular products: how to minimise leakage of the metal if the wires are severed, according to a North Carolina statement.