Self-healing liquid metal composite for reconfigurable and recyclable soft electronics

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Abstract

Soft electronics and robotics are in increasing demand for diverse applications. However, soft devices typically lack rigid enclosures which can increase their susceptibility to damage and lead to failure and premature disposal. This creates a need for soft and stretchable functional materials with resilient and regenerative properties. Here we show a liquid metal-elastomer-plasticizer composite for soft electronics with robust circuitry that is self-healing, reconfigurable, and ultimately recyclable. This is achieved through an embossing technique for on-demand formation of conductive liquid metal networks which can be reprocessed to rewire or completely recycle the soft electronic composite. These skin-like electronics stretch to 1200% strain with minimal change in electrical resistance, sustain numerous damage events under load without losing electrical conductivity, and are recycled to generate new devices at the end of life. These soft composites with adaptive liquid metal microstructures can find broad use for soft electronics and robotics with improved lifetime and recyclability.

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APA

Tutika, R., Haque, A. B. M. T., & Bartlett, M. D. (2021). Self-healing liquid metal composite for reconfigurable and recyclable soft electronics. Communications Materials, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43246-021-00169-4

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