Ultrastretchable Conductive Elastomers with a Low Percolation Threshold for Printed Soft Electronics.ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2019; 11(41):38092-38102AA
Stretchable conductors are required for next-generation soft electronics. Achieving both high electrical conductivity and high stretchability in conductors composed of elastomers and conductive fillers, however, is challenging. Here, a generic, versatile strategy is reported for producing ultrastretchable conductors exhibiting both superior electrical conductivity (>103 S/cm) and stretchability (>1600%). This is achieved by adding small amounts of immiscible secondary fluid into silver (Ag)-filled inks. Capillary forces in these ternary systems induce the self-assembly of conductive particle networks at a low percolation threshold (6-7 vol %), cutting silver consumption by more than 2/3 compared to conventional conductive elastomers. Ag-filled polydimethylsiloxane exhibits superior cyclic durability sustaining 100% tensile strain for 1000 cycles with only a minor loss of conductivity. Ag-filled thermoplastic polyurethane displays unprecedented reversibility with nonretarded switching from conductive to nonconductive states during repeated stretching up to 200% strain. Patterned strain sensors and conductive wirings were 3D-printed to demonstrate the technical feasibility.