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Ancient Paper Art Poised to Improve Smart Clothing

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Stretching an electronic circuit.

A University at Buffalo-led research team says kirigami inspired its efforts to build malleable electronic circuits.

Credit: Shenqiang Ren

University at Buffalo (UB) researchers used kirigami in their execution of a project to build malleable electronic circuits, which could enhance smart apparel.

"Traditional electronics...are rigid," says UB professor Shenqiang Ren. "That's not a good match for the human body, which is full of bends and curves, especially when we are moving."

The team used the design principles of kirigami, a variation of origami, to induce a polymer known as PthTFB to stretch up to 2,000% from its original shape while increasing its electronic conductivity by three orders of magnitude.

Without kirigami, PthTFB can only be deformed by up to 6% while sustaining conductivity.

This innovation has many potential uses, including electronic skin, bendable display screens, and electronic paper, but the UB researchers believe smart clothing could be its most useful application.

From UB News Center
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