- story by MaterialDistrict
This material looks and feels like ordinary Lycra but it is highly conductive. It can be cut into narrow strips to form conducting wires or ties. It can also be used as a soft compliant substitute for metal and foil in switches and sensors.
Interestingly, its conductivity depends how tightly it is stretched so if the fabric is pulled, the resistance increases. The resistance drops again when the material is stretched very tightly. In a thin strip, the material also warms up when current is passed through it. This provides the basis of a heated garment or product such as a hat or gloves.
The manufacturer gives tips on application. The electrolycra can be cut into a 25 mm wide by 300 mm long strip and experiment with using simple circuits using crocodile clip leads, to get a feel for its usage and practical applications.
If the strip is connected to a household battery, an appreciable warming effect can be felt. It is noted, however, that current drain empties batteries quickly when used as a source of heating.
The material’s resistance is 5Ω per 100 mm. This increases to 20Ω when the material is stretched to 150 mm along one axis, but drops to 2,5Ω when stretched at a 90º angle. The material is available in 100 mm x 1450 mm strips.