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Method For Producing Bendable / Flexible Circuit Boards

ID: 2016-035 This invention covers the design and manufacture of flexible circuit boards; it enables the construction of circuit boards that are alternating parts flexible and rigid, so that they can move, bend, and wrap without compromising the stability of the circuit board itself.

Principal Investigator: Larry Howell

Several mechanisms already exist for the development of flexible electronics. These include the Lamina emergent torsional (LET) joint, which allows certain circuit boards and electronics to move like a hinge. This new method of design improves on this process by connecting many of these LET joints in parallel in a kind of flexible mesh. The LET joints are conductive and are run with an electrical current, creating an elastic yet robust connection between the rigid ends of the circuit board, which contain the powered components. These connections are capable of a variety of repeated movements, such as bending or stretching, while resisting pressure and compression. Adding or subtracting these joints increases or decreases flexibility, respectively, which means that circuit boards can be set to a desired amount of flexibility as the situation warrants.

The versatility of the design means reduced market costs for rigid circuit board material, providing a sturdy, adaptable connection while still protecting electrical components by attaching them to solid materials. The flexible circuits can reliably perform repeated motion without damage and are resistant to stress and vibration.

For more information, contact Spencer Rogers (801-422-3676)

Links and Resources

  1. One Page Summary PDF
  2. Inventor Webpage
  3. Compliant Mechanisms Research Group Webpage