Electro-mechano responsive elastomers with self-tunable conductivity and stiffness
Materials with programmable conductivity and stiffness offer new design opportunities for next-generation engineered systems in soft robotics and electronic devices. However, existing approaches fail to harness variable electrical and mechanical properties synergistically and lack the ability to self-respond to environmental changes. We report an electro-mechano responsive Field’s metal hybrid elastomer exhibiting variable and tunable conductivity, strain sensitivity, and stiffness. By synergistically harnessing these properties, we demonstrate two applications with over an order of magnitude performance improvement compared to state-of-the-art, including a self-triggered multiaxis compliance compensator for robotic manipulators, and a resettable, highly compact, and fast current-limiting fuse with an adjustable fusing current. We envisage that the extraordinary electromechanical properties of our hybrid elastomer will bring substantial advancements in resilient robotic systems, intelligent instruments, and flexible electronics.
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council