NASA Has partnered with Syscom Technology to create AmberStrand, a lightweight, flexible conductive fiber. The conductive fibers are like electric yarn where a polymer fiber is given a metallized coating. Multiple fibers are then wrapped together to form light strands that conduct electricity.
Developed for use in spacecraft, the technology has proven less conductive than copper, but the fibers can carry virtually any necessary current. Also, the technology’s properties support electromagnetic shielding. The electrotextiles industry is still in its infancy, but this technology also has potential for heated clothing and blankets. The conductive fibers could even be worn as a piece of clothing that will report vital signs and other data.
While AmberStrand isn’t likely to make its way directly into the residential, commercial or industrial market, NASA has listed applications including power lines, and it is likely to make its way into the life of an electrical contractor in other forms. EC