Scientists discover electrically conductive ‘plastic’ material |

On October 26, a group of scientists, through Nature revealed a discovery that could change the world of electronics forever. Specifically, they’ve developed a new electrical conductor with a material that looks a lot like plastic, but behaves like any metal.

How did they get there? In short, the molecular fragments that make up the material have been rearranged. In this way, we obtain a flexible product, but able to conduct electricity optimally.

As described by For a scientist, this would be equivalent to ” see a car run on water and be able to do it at 112 kilometers per hour“. In other words, something that goes against all the logic of what we know, but capable of becoming revolutionary for more than one industry at once.

In principle, this paves the way for the design of an entirely new class of materials that are electrically conductive, easy to shape and very robust under the conditions of everyday life.

John Anderson, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study.

How did they manage to create such a conductive material?

Conductive materials are essential these days. Thanks to them, we can have electronic devices of all kinds. In fact, their importance is such that their scarcity has caused a real crisis within today’s manufacturing companies. This has caused delays in the launch of some devices and bottlenecks in the production of others, such as consoles from Microsoft and Sony.

Until now, the most popular variety of conductive materials is among metals. Elements such as gold, copper and aluminum stand out for their use in industry. Today we know that a new material could be added to this list, although it is not the first time that this possibility has been explored.

They remember that a similar discovery was made about fifty years ago. At that time, scientists discovered that they could create conductors from organic materials. To achieve this, all they had to do was use a chemical treatment on the material. In this way, it was charged with different atoms and electrons.

However, this method turned out not to be the most sensible one. After all, these highly flexible materials quickly lose their conductive treatment. Some of the different reasons include high temperatures and exposure to humidity.

A new generation of electrical conductors

Despite its impracticality, this type of conductive material set a precedent that other scientists followed. So, using this technique of agglomeration of atoms and molecules by ordered rows, scientist Then Xie began to experiment.

By trying different materials and orders of atoms, he managed to create a specimen that could conduct electricity easily and strongly. But the best thing is that it was also very stable. So much so that it was not affected in any way by heat, cold, humidity, air or acidic chemicals.

But the most surprising thing is that, despite its characteristics, this material cannot be considered a metal. Based on its molecular structure, it is too disorderly to be considered such a material. “There’s no single theory that explains it,” Anderson said.

It’s almost like conductive Play-Doh. You can crush it anywhere and it will conduct electricity.

John Anderson, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study.

Such a discovery did not take long to arouse the excitement of the scientific community. Additionally, the material can be applied at room temperature, eliminating the limitations of what can be done when designing devices. After all, applying metallic conductors requires heating the device to process the material, which is not the case with this new specimen.

Of course, it is still too early to predict the impact of this discovery on the industry. However, in today’s struggling electrical conductor industry, it could become a great alternative upon further study.

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