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Author Topic: Conductive Thread: Silver vs. Stainless Steel  (Read 13665 times)
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I've been trying to find info/opinions about which type of conductive thread is better for what purposes, but can't really find any info on the stainless steel.

It seems "better" due to lower resistance for approximately the same weight thread, but I'm curious about other aspects as well like durability (the silver thread apparently frays and loses conductivity) and any other characteristics.

Has anybody used both and would like to share some knowledge?

Cheers!
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You won't be able to solder to stainless steel where as you will (might) be able to solder to silver.

Silver thread will have a lower resistance but as you say will tarnish. However, that only affects the joints and if you solder or use proper crimped connections that should not be an issue. Also silver is more ductile so less likely to snap but as you say it has a much lower tensile strength so it won't resist stretching as much as steel.
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I'm going to throw out an idea here that I don't have time to pursue, which may be of interest to those working with E-textiles and the like...

Instead of using conductive thread or wires, would electrically conductive gel (like used for TENS, EKG, EEG, etc) work? I'm not sure how well it would work for power applications, but maybe for low-voltage signals it would be ok? Get some really thin plastic tubing, and fill the tubing with the gel using a syringe. Insert stainless steel (or copper?) wire electrodes on each end, then seal the ends with some silicone rubber glue/sealant. Finally, use cold-shrink tubing on the ends to complete the setup.

I don't know what the resistance of electrically conductive gel is, nor what its voltage breakdown level is, etc (I tried to research this - but couldn't find anything via google quickly) - but it might be worth looking into (if it hasn't been already)...

smiley
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What's the application? Maybe the material they use for fencing lames would be useful.
Here's a couple of description of the material.

http://www.balestrafencing.net/store/product_info.php/products_id/188?osCsid=59ceab19ac1b8ade4b3471abced23ac9
http://www.leonpaulusa.com/acatalog/Lame_Jackets.html
http://www.blue-gauntlet.com/BG-deluxe-stainless-nickel-foil-LAME_p_3623.html
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You can silkscreen with Bare Conductive's conductive ink (they're coming out with one that is specifically for fabric, but you can still try with the regular stuff): http://www.bareconductive.com/

There is solderable conductive thread out there, though I havent had the pleasure of trying it: http://steampunkworkshop.com/solderable-conductive-thread

And also there is stretchy wire, which I have seen (it's super cool), but havent used: http://www.mnwire.com/istretch

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What will you use it for, it depends.

Damn I wish I don't live in Saudi Arabia, my dad won't even allow me to order an Arduino. The RadioShack nearby sells only consumer electronics, and the other shops sell components, given, but they don't have any microcontrollers.
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The plastic tubing sounds like a good idea, but how would you terminate the end?
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