Self-Healing Gel Makes the Future of Technology More Flexible

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie

details of the electronic circuit tracks on a printed circuit board, once of 20 images on our "electronik" design pack http://creativity103.com/design-packs/index.htm#electronik

Image acquired from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/creative_stock/5227842611

Figure 2: weak points like junctions and bends in circuits could use the self-healing, conductive gel to keep circuits from wearing.

 

As technology advances, people in today’s society strive for slimmer, curved, and more flexible gadgets. Typical conductive materials for circuits are not exactly suitable for the latest tech to meet these futuristic features.

To address this problem, a team of researchers from the The University of Texas developed a self-repairing gel with high conductivity. The new self-healing gel is a combination of a conductive nanofiber-like hydrogel and a self-healing metal-ligand gel. This particular gel differs from other existing self-healing materials in that it automatically repairs itself after it breaks and does not require a certain condition, like heat or light, to activate the self-repairing process.

Despite its high conductivity, the new gel would probably not be able to replace metal circuits entirely.  The application of the gel for circuit joints and junctions, however, allows the technology of the future to be more flexible and resistant to wear and tear while still maintaining conductivity.

 

Sources:

New ‘self-healing’ gel makes electronics more flexible. Science Daily (2015).

 

  1. Wang, et al., Dopant-enabled supramolecular approach for controlled synthesis of nanostructured conductive polymer hydrogels. Nano Letters. 15.11, 7736-7741 (2015).
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