FLEXIBLE AND BREATHABLE NONWOVENS WITH SUPERIOR ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY
Flexible electrically conductive materials, often polymer-based, are highly important for energy production, energy storage, sensors and actuators. Advantages of polymers are easy processing, low thermal conductivity, high mechanical and chemical stability and light weight. However, the application of polymers in electrodes is severely limited because most polymers are also electrically insulating. The challenge is thus to design a material which combines the favorable material properties of polymers with high electrical conductivity.
The innovation, developed at the University of Bayreuth, includes a simple wet-laid process that can be up-scaled to industrial dimensions. Using short-cut electro-spun polymer fibers and a low percentage of silver nanowires in suspension, a homogeneous, bendable nonwoven with superb electrical conductivities (e.g. 750’000 S/m for 3.35 vol% silver content) can be obtained. The versatile wet-laying allows e.g. roll-to-roll processing as well as the addition of various additives for multifunctional end materials.
Advantages of the new high-tech nonwovens are:
• High, metal-like electrical conductivity, also in bent state
• Simple wet-laid production process
• Breathability and low weight
• Mechanical and chemical stability
• Fast heating & cooling capacity
• Low silver content saves costs
The innovative metallized foam has a broad range of potential implementations, for example:
• Conductive construction parts for automotive, aeronautics and mobile devices
• Battery electrodes
• Functional textiles
• Medical implants
Proof-of-concept. Ready to use.