From iPhones on Earth to rovers on Mars, most electronics only function within a certain temperature range. By blending two organic materials together, researchers at Purdue University could create electronics that withstand extreme heat. This new plastic material could reliably conduct electricity in up to 220 degrees Celsius (428 degrees Fahrenheit). Commercial electronics operate between minus 40 and 85 degrees Celsius. Beyond this range, they're likely to malfunction. The researchers created a material that can operate at high temperatures by blending two polymers together. One of these is a semiconductor, which can conduct electricity, and the other is a conventional insulating polymer, which is what you might picture when you think of regular plastic. To make this technology work for electronics, the researchers couldn't just meld the two together -- they had to tinker with ratios. The researchers discovered a few properties that are essential to make this work. The two materials need to be compatible to mixing and should each be present in roughly the same ratio. This results in an organized, interpenetrating network that allows the electrical charge to flow evenly throughout while holding its shape in extreme temperatures.
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