Engineering researchers at North Carolina State University have created an ultra-thin, stretchable, breathable electronic material. Breathability allows the material to breathe and make it more comfortable to wear. The researchers designed materials specifically for biomedical or wearable technologies in which breathability vaporizes sweat and volatile organic compounds from the skin.
The breathable function makes wearable electronic devices more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The researchers say breathability is a big step forward compared to earlier stretchable electronics. The teams say the materials they develop are important because it’s a simple process that’s easy to scale. The researchers used a technique called breathing mapping to create stretchable polymer films with uniform hole distribution.
Seal the nanowire by dipping the film into a solution containing silver nanowires and then applying the material to a heat pressure. The researchers say the film shows a good combination of conductivity, optical light transmission and water vapor permeability. Since the silver nanowires are embedded just below the polymer surface, the material is also stable in the presence of sweat.
The material created by the team is fragile, only a few microns thick. The breathability of wearable electronic devices is important for comfort, as if not breathable, it can cause skin irritation. The first prototype created by the team was a dry electrode that could be mounted on the skin and used as an electrophysiological sensor. This sensor has a variety of potential applications, including ECG and EMG measurements.