Feeds

Boffins build elastic wires with liquid metal

Headphone cable stretches, band keeps playing

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Researchers at North Carolina State University have shown “conductive wires that can be stretched up to eight times their original length while still functioning.”

The wires have been tested, and demonstrated in the video below, to work perfectly well as headphone wires. Sound continues to reach the headphones even as the wires are stretched.

The wires themselves don’t stretch, but instead use a liquid alloy of gallium and indium housed in a very plastic polymer the researchers say, in the paper Ultrastretchable Fibers with Metallic Conductivity Using a Liquid Metal Alloy Core, is hollow fibre “composed of a triblock copolymer, poly[styrene-b-(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-styrene] (SEBS) resin.”

The paper says the fibres’ mechanical properties remain unchanged even when stretched and but that resistance increases when it is stretched. Nonetheless, even when the housing stretches, sufficient liquid metal remains to enable conductivity.

The paper also says production methods for this kind of fibre are well-known, which would make it easy to mass-produce except for the fact a broken wire will leak. That’s not good news on the durability front. It’s also unwelcome from a therapeutic point of view: you don’t want to eat Indium, while Gallium can stain the skin and may also be toxic.

Watch Video

The researchers have tested the stretching wires in headphones and a battery charger. Conductive clothing is also on their minds.

Reg readers, one imagines, might like the idea of network cables with just an inch or three of extra potential to save the hassle that arises when a cable is just that much short of a port. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?