Boffins over at North Carolina State University made the stretchable wires by filling in a tube made out of extremely elastic polymer with gallium and indium liquid metal alloy. There have been instances where researchers have tried achieving stretchable wires but, those haven’t given the desired results. Explaining this, Dr. Michael Dickey, assistant professor at the university said, “Previous efforts to create stretchable wires focus on embedding metals or other electrical conductors in elastic polymers, but that creates a trade-off.”
Embedding more metal increases conductivity and the quality of the wires but, that essentially means that the elasticity of the wire is reduced. Dickey noted that because of the manner in which they have created the new wire, the two materials are separate and hence the end result is both an elastic and highly conductive wire which can be used in all the latest gadgets including headphones, chargers and even electronic textiles.
Researchers have noted “the hollow fibers are easy to mass-produce with controlled size using commercially available melt processing methods” but, have stressed that work needs to be done to address one critical aspect of the wire though – leakage of liquid metal in case the wire is severed.
More information about the research is available here.