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Energy Saving Conductive Polymers Expand the Plastics Frontier!

SpecialChem / Donald Rosato – Nov 14, 2011

One of the most important technological advances in the field of plastics has been the extensive replacement of metals with plastics. The key advantage metals have over plastics is their electrical conductivity. Plastics can be expanded substantially by making them conductive. CNTEC, an electron conductive fiber, has created a unique fabric heater which is thin, lightweight, and highly flexible. The UCLA California Nanosystems Institute has developed a new method for coating large surfaces with nanofiber thin films that are both transparent and electrically conductive. Transparent thin films that are able to absorb light and produce an electric charge over a comparably large area have been developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Cambridge Display Technology and Conductive Inkjet Technology have demonstrated an ITO free P-OLED lighting panel using a fine copper mesh. A University of Toronto research group using an inherently conductive polymer in combination with nanotechnology has found ways of capturing infrared light from sunlight and converting it into electricity. Konarka has pioneered a totally new area by applying conductive polymers to photovoltaic fibers in the development of textile based solar cells. Consumer electronic devices like smartphones or laptops can recharge in minutes with lithium-ion batteries equipped with special graphene from Vorbeck Materials Group. A graphene based supercapacitor exists that can store as much energy per unit mass as nickel metal hydride batteries that can be charged or discharged in just minutes or seconds. A U.S.- Korean research team has prepared highly elastic, electrically conductive composite sheets for strain sensors.

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