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unijimpe forum - Stretchable Rubber Packs a Thermal Conductive Punch
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    • CommentAuthorYumy
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2017 edited
     
    Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a thermally conductive rubber material that may represent a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics.
    The new material, nicknamed "thubber," is an electrically insulating composite that exhibits a combination of metal-like thermal conductivity and elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue that can stretch over six times its initial length.
    Navid Kazem (left), Jonathan Malen (center), and Carmel Majidi (right) demonstrate the elasticity of a strip of “thubber."Navid Kazem (left), Jonathan Malen (center), and Carmel Majidi (right) demonstrate the elasticity of a strip of “thubber."According to researchers, the combination of high thermal conductivity and elasticity is critical for rapid heat dissipation in applications such as wearable computing and soft robotics, which require mechanical compliance and stretchable functionality.
    The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    Applications could extend to industries like athletic wear and sports medicine, for example, lighted clothing for runners and heated garments for injury therapy. Advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation are other areas where stretchable electronic material could have an impact.
    The key ingredient in "thubber" is a suspension of non-toxic, liquid metal microdroplets. The liquid state allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature. When the rubber is pre-stretched, the droplets form elongated pathways that are efficient for heat travel. Despite the amount of metal, the material is also electrically insulating.
    To demonstrate these findings, the team mounted an LED light onto a strip of the material to create a safety lamp worn around a jogger's leg. The "thubber" dissipated the heat from the LED, which might have otherwise burned the jogger. The researchers also created a soft robotic fish that swims with a "thubber" tail, without using conventional motors or gears.

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