Conductive elastomers are created by incorporating electrically conductive particles into an elastomer matrix by forming conductive paths between the particles. The specific conductivity depends both on the elastomer matrix and on the material of the particles, their shape and concentration. At the Center Smart Materials and Adaptive Systems, conductive silicone elastomers with different fillers can be specifically adjusted to the requirements of given applications. This also includes the processing and shaping of the materials.
Carbon particles such as carbon black or graphite are usually used as fillers. Anisotropic metal particles can also be used to achieve significantly higher specific conductivities up to about 100 S/cm. An important advantage is that the conductivity can be maintained up to 100 % even under high strains.
Conductive elastomers are used for electrode layers of dielectric elastomers. In addition, they can also fulfil numerous other functions, which range from resistive sensors for measuring strain or compression load to electrostimulation on deformable surfaces, the measurement of biosignals on the human body towards to flexible and extensible heating foils and conductors.