Mechanically Stretchable and Electrically Insulating Thermal Elastomer Composite by Liquid Alloy Droplet Embedment
Journal article, 2015
Stretchable electronics and soft robotics have shown unsurpassed features, inheriting remarkable functions from stretchable and soft materials. Electrically conductive and mechanically stretchable materials based on composites have been widely studied for stretchable electronics as electrical conductors using various combinations of materials. However, thermally tunable and stretchable materials, which have high potential in soft and stretchable thermal devices as interface or packaging materials, have not been sufficiently studied. Here, a mechanically stretchable and electrically insulating thermal elastomer composite is demonstrated, which can be easily processed for device fabrication. A liquid alloy is embedded as liquid droplet fillers in an elastomer matrix to achieve softness and stretchability. This new elastomer composite is expected useful to enhance thermal response or efficiency of soft and stretchable thermal devices or systems. The thermal elastomer composites demonstrate advantages such as thermal interface and packaging layers with thermal shrink films in transient and steady-state cases and a stretchable temperature sensor.