back to article Chemists create current-bearing plastic

Chemists have found a new way of producing plastic that conducts electricity, potentially paving the way to cheaper, more robust and er, more plasticky computers. Polymer electronics isn't new, and the printed electronics business is reckoned to be worth around $2bn, although not all the printing goes onto polymers. But with all …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Copper thefts

Does this mean the end of expensive copper cable thefts from railways and telephone lines? More generally, is the high price of copper set to tumble once this becomes widely available?

0
1

Problems

I see problems. How you going to solder a plastic wire ? If u use it in CPU's will it stand up to the heat ?? And lastly wont it be just profits that go up rather than retail prices going down ??

0
3
Headmaster

Well..

| How you going to solder a plastic wire ?

Well, with molten conductive plastic perhaps? Who'd need regular solder? Maybe even just point melt the 'tracks' together?

| If u use it in CPU's will it stand up to the heat

Errr... If you're stupid enough to put things in products without testing their applicability for doing so, then you deserve to lose all your money and go bankrupt. It'll be used in areas where there are advantages to doing so. Why not ask if it can be used as a thermal sensor for magma?

| And lastly wont it be just profits that go up rather than retail prices going down?

Probably both. Cheaper tech when people re-tool, but competition in the market means they'll end up undercutting (to a degree) to try and gain market share. And the market finds its equilibrium, as it already has for prices to arrive where they are.

4
0

Nah,

Most copper thefts happen at places like substations and railway lines, and while printed electronics is great for things with relatively low voltage and current such as computers, i personally cant see printed electronics surviving high current, high voltage transmission.

What that situation really needs is more regular inspection of scrap dealers, and making them ask questions like "So how did you come to have cable marked 'British Rail'? Hmm?"

Of course, i dont see that happening in the current financial climate.

2
0

Profits up, not prices down, what an unlikely scenario

Given the BofE's apparent interest in raising UK interest rates in order to stave off all those global price hikes in oil, food, commodoties etc.

With the BofE fully behind reducing inflation of course this new invention will cause prices to tumble in the new highly interested UK... and therefore equally of course around the whole world.

As for soldering the plastic together - whats wrong with glue - computers could then be just like airfix models :) :)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Or perhaps

It will just mean in increase in plastic thefts?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Welcome to the layercake.

Looking forward to see what thinly sandwiched layers of variously-conducting plastic might do beyond the obvious.

0
0

Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

"Oh my God...."

"What is it ?"

"I think... I think... ohmygod... I *think* it's an Andrew Orlowski comments section... "

"Oh for Lords sake man, don't be so stupid - those are just old wives tales - no such thing - absolutely ridiculous. For one minute I thought we had something important to.. "

"No NO - seriously ! Look, over there, the mummified body .. "

"What - the one holding the hockey stick ?"

"Yes - i'm sure that's one those fabled people who did Believe the Great Truth Of Andrews View Of All Climate Science... they were supposedly responsible for him closing the comments sections in the first place with their never ending attempts at reasoned debate and use of science.. oh course they were doomed, even if they were right - which was a cause of great debate back then"

"Doomed - why man, why ?"

"Well for one - they couldn't shout as loudly as the True Believers of Andrew - that's what seemed to be the one of the main factors in deciding a winner in the Comments.... secondly, they all froze to death during the little Ice Age during the Page minimum of the early 21st century..."

"What happened to them then, all gone ?"

"Pretty much - yeah. When the Great Doors of the Comments were closed, the ones left that survived the freeze had to listen the the preaching of The Andrew without any chance of debate - drove 'em mad. Occasionally one of them would send protestations to The Andrew via the E.Mail - they were either ignored or worse, He would choose a couple of words from the E.Mail - such as 'bottom' and 'goats' - and publish it in the name of the protester. That shut'em up pretty quick"

"I'd imagine - so what are we going do with this now then ?"

"Buggered if I know - there's no real point in telling anybody we've found Andrew Orlowskis Comment Section - they'd never believe us..."

"True.."

30
2
Troll

So lets get started.

What is the impact of plastic circuit on the environment and climate?

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

first major impact

2055: pacific gyre, filled with conducting plastic, becomes world's largest electrical generator.

2
0

Correction

Ooops

"fabled people who did Believe"

should be

"fabled people who didn't Believe"

(that'll change the voting :)

0
0
Silver badge
Go

Re: Correction

Actually I think your high vote count is not so much to do with you being perceived to hold pro- or anti- views on climate change, but more to do with your adroit and comical depiction of a true rarity - a comment-enabled Andrew Orlowski article!

You have my upvote for that at least, regardless of your views on climate change.

For those archaeologists looking for a really rare and epic find, try locating a comment-enabled Andrew Orlowski article about *copyright*!

0
0
Coat

Detecting bird strikes

"Boeing's 747-8 has a printed bird strike detector, for example."

Ok; so I know the reality is more technical and serious, but I have a vision of a bunch of engineers standing round a piece of mangled plastic covered in feathers and gore saying 'yep, it was a bird all right'.

7
0
Happy

Printed Bird Strike Detector

So on an average flight, how many printed birds _do_ strike a 747?

0
0
Headmaster

shouldn't that be

how many *birds* does a *747* strike?

0
0
Boffin

Actually...

It's the maintainers who do the standing around debating who is junior so they then have to scrape up bits/pieces for identification (of species) for birdstrike avoidance planning. That could be flying at different altitudes, routes, etc based on migrations, local bird attractors (golf courses, ponds, etc).

0
0
Boffin

Based on Point of View

If the bird survived the impact, it would be called a 747 strike in the bird's medical forms. But since we're talking about damage to the aircraft, and the likelihood of a bird surviving said impact is low (though not zero) it's a birdstrike.

0
0
Bronze badge
Joke

Interesting

The picture in the article implies that this technology is already being used in Apple products.

6
0
Gold badge
Go

Was'nt this what Plastic Logic was *supposed* to do?

One of those technologies that has been full of promise for a *long* time.

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

Yep, exactly... a wonder material.

Like carbon nanotubes... oh wait...

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

Clever stuff but...

... shouldn't we be looking to reduce our dependence on oil rather than make more and more stuff out of plastics?

Current-bearing wood, now there's an idea. Trees that produce pentium-nuts, etc.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

They did also mention 'organic material'

And you can make plastics out of sunflower oil and the like, but they tend to bio-degrade easily, which is what you want in plastic bags, less so in electronics.

"That's the problem with those Sony's, 5 years and the circuit turns to dust"

That said, i've seen electronics from the 70's where the coating on the PCB's has suddenly decided to go conductive.

0
0

What is...

A "printed bird strike detector"? Would it detect a plain bird if it were about to strike?

0
0
Thumb Up

'Chemists'!

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for not using the word 'Boffins'.

1
2
FAIL

Boeing's 747-8 has a printed bird strike detector, for example.

I was going to comment on this, but then I read the previous comments and realised that I would be be merely gilding the lily, so to speak. Actually, I think I want the opposite - blackening that which is already black, but no such idiom comes to mind. Suggestions?

0
0

Actually

Originally "guilding the lily" is a deliberate misquote from Shakespeare I first encountered in the Skylark series by E.E Doc Smith.

the quote from Shakespeare is something like "Painting the lily, or guilding fine gold, any other name is just as sweet" or something like that anyway.

Anyone do an English major in here?

0
0
Headmaster

Gilding the Lily?

You are right - it's from Wolsey's advice to Thomas Cromwell from the unfinished Henry VIII in the speech which starts: "I charge thee, Cromwell, fling away ambition, for by that sin the angels fell." and the actual words were "They paint the lily, they gold refined gold"

Not actually an English major - I only studied Eng Lit up to School Cert level in the 1940's, but schools turned out literate people in those days.

0
0

Interesting. ...But Not Promising

Given the useful life of plastics. Interesting that they can dial in a pre-set conductivity, but how long does the conductivity last? Does it degrade faster or slower than the the plastic itself?

And yeah, what JDX said. Less petro products, please.

1
1
Boffin

"they'd never believe us"

screencap ;-]

0
0
Flame

Plastics

Totally recyclable I hope. And not a product of oil either. Otherwise we're going backwards.

1
1
Stop

No ...

... *not* using plastics is going backwards - into the past.

Not content with trying to deny us reliable, large-scale powers supplies, and reliable, large-scale transport options, eco-nuts are now trying to take away plastics. FFS, why don't you all pack up and move to Borneo or somewhere, where you can show us how your wonderful world-view works in practice? I promise that if you can show the same lifestyle as I have now, but only using the renewable products of mother nature, then I'll join you.

2
1

are these plastics flexible?

Curious if this research has any bearing on wearable electronics/e-textiles. It's always seemed like a bit of a solution looking for a problem, but I bet there could probably be some cool applications of extremely flexible electronics, e.g. a spandex-like fabric with a vast number of piezo sensors, accelerometers, gyros, moisture sensors, etc. could make a great suit for measuring everything about top athletes during training.

0
0
Silver badge

I was under the impression

that 'bird-strike' detectors worked by breaking when hit.

So you want something that's really fragile, so it'll definitely break well before the stuff it's supposed to protect.

- You want to be sure of no false negatives, so you accept a relatively higher rate of false positives.

0
0
Thumb Up

environmental

Glad to see I'm not the only one wondering if it's environmentally better than what we currrently use, even if someone else doesn;t appear to agree :)

0
0
Coat

Electrochemical series

If the plastics can have different conductivity, that will make resistors cheaper as the resistance will be in the bulk rather than a surface coat of thin film carbon.

Secondly, will different plastics be in different postions in the electrochemical series? If so you could make lightweight flexible batteries using an external electrolyte (any acidic or alkaline liquid or gel) without having heavy metals leaching out. I'm thinking the self powered vibrating dildo here.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums