Quantum-tunnelling composite (QTC) is a flexible polymer which contains tiny metal particles. It is normally an insulator but if it is squeezed it becomes a conductor.
‘Quantum tunnelling composites (or QTCs) are composite materials of metals and non-conducting materials, used to produce pressure sensors’
QTC can be used to make membrane switches like those used on mobile phones, pressure sensors and speed controllers.
What is QTC?
- QTC material is a pressure/force sensing material.
- Transforms from Insulator to Conductor with Pressure.
- Can be formed or moulded into virtually any size, thickness or shape.
- Durable - it has no moving parts to wear out.
- Mechanically strong.
- Can be made to withstand extreme temperatures limits.
- Versatile, both electrically and physically e.g. Its range and sensitivity can be altered
- Intrinsically safe - the material is a contactless switch, ideal for spark free operation.
- Can be directly interfaced to standard electronic and electrical devices
- This flexible polymer exhibits extraordinary electrical resistance change when deformed by squeezing, pulling or twisting.
They utilise quantum tunnelling: without pressure, the conductive elements are too far apart to conduct electricity; when pressure is applied, they move closer and electrons can tunnel through the insulator.
In its normal state it is a perfect insulator, but when compressed it becomes a more or less perfect conductor and able to pass very high currents.