With wearable technology becoming more pervasive in everyday life, industry must meet the demand to provide reliable, high performance materials. As the market continues to grow, more innovators are moving to enhance the functionality of garments with washable technology. The rise in wearable tech is increasing the demand for washable materials.
Conductive adhesives that survive machine washing and drying, in conjunction with wash and dry stable conductive inks, are needed to mount components to provide increased functionality to more advanced wearable textiles. The nature of textiles requires the conductive adhesives to bridge the gap between rigid components and stretchable textiles. Bonding rigid components to flexible textiles provides a unique challenge that can be solved by exploring adhesives that have lower modulus which helps to account for the difference in flexibility between the textile and the component. The adhesive must also be highly durable to withstand the stress of washing and drying that textiles undergo. In order to evaluate what properties provide the best performance, multiple polymer chemistries, moduli, filler type, etc. were tested.
Properties such as mechanical integrity, hydrolytic stability, adhesive bond strength, and electrical resistance are important criteria for determining which adhesives are best-suited for mounting components to wearable and washable electronics. Different encapsulants can be incorporated to help improve the performance of conductive adhesives for wearable applications, further bolstering the performance of these new, high performance materials.
As the market for smart technology and functional textiles continues to expand, wearable tech must continue to evolve to meet the rising demand. Utilizing wash and dry stable conductive adhesives is key in improving wearable tech. Not only does the material selected need to be durable enough to withstand washing chemically, it also must be able to stretch and bend repeatedly with the textile while maintaining contact with the components. Despite the many demands washable tech materials must meet, there is an adhesive suitable for every application.
Michele Thompson is an Applications Engineer I at Creative Materials. Michele holds a Bachelor of Science in the field of chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Michele is involved in the research and development of custom materials at Creative Materials. Her primary focus is in developing functional adhesives for specialty applications. As an applications engineer, she has researched and formulated specialty adhesives designed for wearable device applications.
Creative Materials is a leading manufacturer of custom formulated electrically conductive adhesives, coatings & inks. Markets include wearable electronics, solar, displays, electronics, aerospace/defense, medical and automotive. We pride ourselves our tailoring materials to specific applications.
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, REACH, RoHS compliant. Manufacturing and development is located in Ayer, MA.