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Chance to help an Electronic Engineer find a weird material for an invention

  1. Jul 17, 2011 #1

    This is my first post here and I come shamelessly looking for help.

    I'm an Electronic Engineer and have an idea for an invention but do not know if the type of material that is needed exists, the only one I can think of so far is Bread dough.

    Anyway, what is needed is something that is 'sticky' and 'pliable' when warm and wet but is much firmer when cooler or dry.

    I'm hopeful that a certain sort of polymer must do this but know nothing about the subject.

    Any help gratefully received.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2011 #2
    Hello golaboots, welcome to Physics Forums.

    There is no shame in seeking information.

    It's very hard to answer your question though with such a broad based specification.

    Noticing your food comment I can think of many food preparations that answer the call,

    Custard, jelly, porridge come to mind.

    More seriously since you are an EE, perhaps you can narrow the spec down a bit?

    For instance is electrical conduction an issue?
    Why does the material need to be wet? and hot?

    Thre are plenty of water based resins sold as wood glues that you mix up and then set hard.
    Would any of these do?
    Concrete is also such a material.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  4. Jul 18, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the reply. Conductivity does not matter.

    There are lots of materials that 'set' however I require the material to be pliable at a warm temperature, set at a cooler one and then return to a pliable state again once re heated.

    This change between two states is what led me to thinking of plastics.
  5. Jul 18, 2011 #4
    Yes plastics answer that requirement well.

    The type that soften above a certain temperature and harden below are called thermoplastics. The transition is normally reversible many times.

    As a for instance the glue in hot melt glue guns.

    This is, of course, contingent on removal of the wetness requirement that you have not answered.

    It then becomes a matter of seeking out a plastic with a suitable the transition temperature.
  6. Jul 18, 2011 #5
    Define "warm" and "cool".
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