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Conductive Materials
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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2014 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Conductive Materials

    Conductive Paints and Inks

    The biggest problem with conductive paints and inks is that they crack and loose their conductivity on fabric because the surface of fabric is porous and uneven. To print on stretch fabrics is an even bigger issue that might be resolved by combining the paints with flexible materials such as latex, silicone or fabric mediums. Painting on fabrics can lead to some nice results regarding stretch and bend sensing.

    Also see: Tutorial on painting paper circuits

    Copper Paint

    CuPro-Cote from LessEMF is highly conductive and great for painting circuits. See above tutorial.
    CuPro-Cote >> http://lessemf.com/paint.html (USA)

    Carbon Paint

    There are a range of carbon based paints available. While these are not as conductive as the copper one mentioned above, they are ideal for painting sensors.
    YShield from LessEMF >> http://lessemf.com/paint.html (USA)
    SPI Supplies >> http://www.2spi.com/catalog/spec_prep/cond_paints3.shtml (USA)
    EMFields >> http://www.emfields.org/screening/paint.asp (USA)

    Silver Paint

    Pens containing silver ink. See: Conductive Pen
    Maplin >> http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=36275&doy=17m4&C=SO&U=strat15 (UK)

    Conductive Compounds

    This company produces silver and carbon inks for electronics and screenprinting.
    >> http://www.conductivecompounds.com

    DuPont

    Manufactures two silver screenprintable inks designed for flexible substrates.
    >> http://www2.dupont.com/MCM/en_US/news_events/article20100413.html

    Make your own conductive paints and glues!

    By mixing conductive powders/pigments or particles with paintable mediums you can make your own conductive paints. You want to use a medium that will shrink when it dries rather than expand, bringing the conductive particles closer together, rather than further apart. Graphite powder is easy to buy as lock lubricant, but is relatively course, finer powders make better connections. I would recommend starting by making some samples. Mix as much conductive material with your medium as possible, before your medium is saturated and turns clumpy. If this is conductive, then make more samples with varying ratios, until you achieve the right result for your purposes.
    !!! With latex i observed that the conductive material sinks to the bottom and the latex forms an isolating layer on top of them. So that, when you measure for conductivity it appears that the cured mix is not conductive, but if you measure from the bottom, or use needles to probe into the mixture, then you can read values.

    The following links contain instructions on making your own conductive paints and glues:
    >> http://smackaay.com/2009/01/13/making-a-conductive-adhesive/
    >> http://www.instructables.com/id/Conductive-Glue-And-Conductive-Thread-Make-an-LED/step1/Make-Conductive-Glue-Conductive-Paint-and-Conduc/
    >> http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f38/diy-conductive-paint-cavity-shielding-589012/
    >> http://www.ehow.com/how_5031497_make-conductive-ink.html

    22 Comments so far

    1. [...] (0.75$) Conductive fabric Thermochromic paint/dye (4.95$) Nitinol / shape memory alloy wire(2$) Conductive paint Neodymium magnets(0.24$) Copper tape / copper foil(1.27$) Tilt sensor (1.85$) Peltier Junction [...]

    2. ashwani on June 19th, 2010

      we are in need of conductive paint may be oil or water base in different colours or transperent like laqure.
      pl inform if availabe with full details

    3. opal on August 2nd, 2010

      I was wondering if this copper paint is conductive, apparently no ?

      http://bloggingwithcopperliquidpaint.blogspot.com/2008/09/email-question-from-emily.html

    4. admin on August 7th, 2010

      The carbon paints are conductive but with a high resistance. Similarly you can make your own conductive paint by mixing graphite particles into a medium like latex and if the ratio is right (lots of graphite) then the mix will be conductive. The copper paint from less EMF is very conductive and great for painting circuits on paper!

    5. alex on August 31st, 2010

      I am interested in heating up conductive copper paint on paper enough to change thermochromatic ink, is this possible with arduino? any tips or direction you could point me in

    6. admin on August 31st, 2010

      Unfortunately i have no experience with using paint to heat thermochromatic inks. Not yet. I know it is possible with thick steel conductive thread, and that you need a 9V battery or so to provide enough power to heat it.
      If you try anything out that works it would be great to hear about it!

    7. h on November 18th, 2010

      Hi, I was wondering if it is possible to use conductive paint as a first coat and then paint over that layer while still maintaining conductivity? I am curious if it is possible to make some sort of programmable interactive conductive painting.

    8. admin on November 18th, 2010

      yes, as long as you do not wash away the coat of conductive paint, then painting over it with regular paint should not affect the conductivity of it.
      but always test!!

    9. [...] HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANTCopper Paint … Carbon Paint … we are in need of conductive paint may be oil or water base in different colours or transperent like laqure. pl inform if availabe with full details… [...]

    10. Felix T.I. on June 6th, 2011

      You wrote above: Similarly you can make your own conductive paint by mixing graphite particles into a medium like latex and if the ratio is right (lots of graphite) then the mix will be conuctive.

      How much is lots of graphite? like 1/4 graphite for for each gallon of latex? Wouldn’t it be better to just paint and when paint it still fresh. To springle the graphite on the top of it?

    11. admin on June 8th, 2011

      good question. i added a paragraph on making your own conductive paint above. i would recommend starting by making some samples. try mixing your conductive material with your medium in a 1:1 ratio. then check the result (when dry). if is not conductive then make a new mix with more conductive material to medium…. and continue along these lines.
      hope this helps!

    12. Leigh on July 28th, 2011

      Hello, we’ve been actively seeking a clear conductive paint for some time now, with no luck. Essentially, we’re trying to find something off-the-shelf which can be applied to various surfaces and sized objects – sprayed or brushed on. We’ve found many coloured options, because of the active ingredient but tt’s essential for our application that the coating/paint is clear. any suggestions, thanks.

    13. Guy Sergeant on September 6th, 2011

      This might do it & I need some too. Doubt it’ll be cheap though :(

      http://www.hznano.com/en/Products.asp?id=391

    14. admin on September 8th, 2011

      update on using conductive paint to heat thermochromic paints:
      it is possible, and you’ll get the best results with paints that are highly conductive and uniform (no uneven patches of resistance once painted and dried). Silver paint is expensive but works well. Carbon paint, applied in multiple layers (to increase conductivity), also works. Copper paint also works, but tends to burn up in certain areas that have higher resistance.

      here some links:
      http://web.media.mit.edu/~plusea/?p=734
      http://web.media.mit.edu/~plusea/?p=1210
      http://web.media.mit.edu/~plusea/?p=143

    15. Roshan on September 27th, 2011

      Do you guys have any experience using conductive inks with inkjet (standard) printers to print on textile or paper? Do you recommend any particular type of inks?

      I found that carbon or silver nano inks are suitable but still could not acquire them to test with.

    16. Penny on November 2nd, 2011

      I’m looking for an oil-based exterior paint with primer included and also with graphite or something else that’s rough to paint my outside steps. I live in snow country. Is there a quality brand you would recommend and a store or an online outlet you would recommend?

    17. DIYDIY on August 9th, 2012

      Hi,
      For those of you looking for the transparent conductive paint from Shanghai Huzheng – I recently made a bulk order and am selling smaller quantities on ebay now:

      http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320960807690#ht_836wt_1238

    18. [...] CuPro-Cote ink at hand. Conductive ink comes in various forms and qualities (see Hannah’s summary) and our main goal will be to test whether we manage to get any reasonable circuits assembled from [...]

    19. Nan on December 7th, 2012

      We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
      Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

      Feel free to visit my web blog; Nan

    20. Klace on May 10th, 2013

      Does anyone have a small amount of transparent conductive paint that we could buy off of you? We need about an ounce for a prototype and can’t really
      afford to buy the minimum amount directly from the companies
      We’ve found.

      Thanks!

    21. Laura Jane on May 31st, 2013

      Can you make conductive paint with acrylic polymer mediums and gels, and – can you make acylic paint conductive? Looking to make an interactive/conductive artwork using high viscosity acrylics.

    22. vahakn on November 12th, 2013

      my friends make a new conductive ink called bare conductive
      you might want to check it out

      V

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