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Conductive Polymers: Plastics Final Frontier

SpecialChem / Dec 19, 2007

One of the most important technological advances in the field of plastics over the last half of the twentieth century has been the extensive replacement of metals with plastics. While plastics have been engineered to outperform steel and other structural metals by providing the strength or stiffness necessary, at lower weight and cost, to allow plastic replacement of metals in structural applications, a key property advantage that metals have over plastics, is in electrical conductivity. While their extraordinarily good electrical insulative properties has given rise to many widespread and important uses of plastics, the applications for plastics can be broadened substantially with good methods to make these materials conductive. Various routes have been pursued to render polymers conductive. Conductive polymers include conductive filled plastics, inherently conductive polymers (ICPs) and a third group of very highly specialized polymers, ICPs that have both electrical and optical characteristics (electro-optic polymers).

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