"Metal Rubber" Nanostructured Materials
75245-A material that possessed the combined properties of ultralow mechanical modulus (rubber) and very high electrical and thermal conductivities (metal) would have numerous commercial applications. For example, such elastic conducting ¿metal rubber¿ materials would allow the manufacturing of mechanically flexible electrodes, improved flex circuits, fabric electronic networks and interconnects, as well as low weight thermally conductive packaging materials. This project will develop polymer/metal nanocomposites with these combined properties. These ¿metal rubber¿ materials would be formed by modifying the conventional electrostatic self-assembly (ESA) process. During Phase I, the cooperation of a major U.S. chemical processing company will be obtained to transition ESA methods from the laboratory to product manufacturing. Free-standing, self-assembled materials with the combined low modulus and high conductivity properties will be designed, synthesized, and evaluated. Investigations will be conducted to determine how these materials can best be transitioned to large-scale fabrication at established production facilities for specific near-term product markets. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: ¿Metal rubber¿ materials should have commercial applications as mechanically robust electronic and thermal interconnects in such electronic systems as sensors, actuators, electronic chassis, flexible electronics, and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Other uses include biomedical implants, electrodes on artificial muscles that require large strain ranges, replacing toxic lead-based solder for electronic connections on circuit boards, and as thermal control packaging materials where weight reduction is an issue.
Small Business Information at Submission:
P.O. Box 618 Christiansburg, VA 24068
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