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Electronic skin reappears new function, not only flame retardant, but also can alarm!

Time : 2020-06-29 Hits : 11

With the rapid development of flexible wearable devices, electronic skin becomes an important material for human-computer interaction interface, and its safety becomes very important. Using natural silk protein and calcium ions as raw materials, a team from Shanghai University of Science and Technology has made a transparent, stretchable, self-healing and highly secure conductive electronic skin material with good flame retardant properties. The research team deeply explored its flame retardant mechanism and developed an early warning system that can transmit information through wireless signals under extreme conditions, providing a new idea for further designing new ionic skin and improving the safety of wearable devices.

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Preparation and presentation of SFCIS


Two different methods were used to prepare fibroin calcium ion electronic skin (SFCIS) to meet the requirements of different application scenarios. SFCIS has high transparency. The mechanical properties of SFCIS in the environment can be controlled by regulating the content of calcium ions, so that the modulus of SFCIS is similar to that of biological tissues and its application performance is stronger. Meanwhile, SFCIS has good stretchability (elongation rate up to 1200%) and electrical conductivity (1.96ms ·cm-1), which can meet the needs of wearable devices. In the water vapor environment, SFCIS also has a good self-healing performance.

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Mechanical properties of SFCIS

The introduction of calcium ions can exchange materials with the environment and maintain the stability of the combined water in the materials. On the one hand, the existence of bonded water provides a large number of hydrogen bonds for the electronic skin material, which makes it have high toughness and self-healing ability. On the other hand, when the material is exposed to the combustion environment, calcium chelating water can make the material absorb heat and vaporize at the first time of contact with the flame, and expand rapidly, forming a protection for the internal basement. So this kind of electronic skin material has good flame retardant property.

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Flame retardant mechanism of SFCIS and SEM diagram of combustion surface

The team used thermo-mass spectrometry (TGA-MS) characterization to accurately analyze the changes of each material component in different combustion reaction stages, and thus hypothesized that the flame retardant process included dehydration, carbonization layer expansion, multilayer shielding and free radical quenching. In the experiment of limiting oxygen index test, SFCIS shows flame retardant performance comparable to that of engineering plastics, and there will be no reignition, droplet and other secondary hazards in the combustion experiment, which greatly guarantees the safety of the material in the fire environment.


In practice, the team also developed a wireless fire warning system based on the change of SFCIS electrical conductivity with the degree of combustion.


In general, the team is based on natural silk protein, the method of using simple prepared has good electrical conductivity, mechanical properties, self-healing properties and flame retardancy of ion conductor electronic skin material, this kind of material for research combustion mechanism provides a feasible scheme, also as a new type of artificial skin design provides a new train of thought, to improve wearable safety equipment has the important enlightenment.

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