Novel Fiber-Particle-Matrix Elastomeric Composite

Case ID:




Applications of rapid and reversible change in mechanical rigidity are common in nature. Rigidity tuning is also important in engineered systems, such as robotics where control of actuation and mechanical response is often of paramount importance. As engineering increasingly relies on non-rigid and multifunctional materials, there continues to be growing interest in rigidity-tuning composites.



Our researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have developed a procedure to create composite materials that exhibit superior physical properties such as higher elastic modulus and toughness. This procedure introduces low melting point alloy particles and conductive fibers into an elastomeric matrix to create composites that are conductive with tunable stiffness and tunable thermal expansion coefficient.



  • Because the conductive elastomer is flexible and conductive, it can be directly heated with an electrical current and stretched without mechanical or electrical failure.
  • Our composite can reversible change its tensile modulus between about 1 and 100 MPa, thus exceeding the rigidity tuning properties of natural materials.
  • The change in modulus is rapid and reversible.
  • Our invention creates materials that are conductive and with tunable stiffness which have ample uses in robotics for universal parts manipulation, transfer printing, and many other applications.
  • Using our composite materials results in a low-cost, time-saving solution enabled by a universal gripper.
  • Application of our technology within soft robotics may serve useful as an additional actuation method within soft mechanisms which can be used for manufacturing, healthcare, and aerospace industries.




Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno