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Conductive Polymers: Plastics Final Frontier

SpecialChem / Jul 10, 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 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). Dominating the field of conductive polymers, conductive filled plastics are traditional plastics, almost exclusively thermoplastics containing fillers such as powdered metals (stainless steel, silver, copper, gold) or carbon (usually carbon black or fiber but increasingly, carbon nanotubes and other nanosized materials) that render them conductive.

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