A plastic material that has metallic properties and remains stable even when heated, chilled, left in the air or exposed to acid has been revealed, with researchers saying it could prove valuable in wearable electronics.
What’s more, the material can be made into any shape, the researchers say.
“It’s a dark black powder. However, when we put it on a surface as a film, or press it like Play-Doh, it becomes iridescent and shiny,” said Dr John Anderson, senior author of the research from the University of Chicago.
“From what we can tell, it’s stable up to [about] 250 degrees celsius,” he added, noting the material has a conductivity similar to graphite.
Electrical conductivity occurs in materials in which electrons can flow freely. But it has traditionally been thought that a key feature of solid conductive materials is an ordered structure.
However the new substance, a metallopolymer formed of chains of molecules made of sulphur, carbon and hydrogen that carry nickel at regular intervals, has been shown to be highly conductive, despite being amorphous.

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