PerspectiveMaterials Science

A figure of merit for flexibility

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Science  08 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6466, pp. 690-691
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz5704


Flexible materials are widely used in health care, robotics, and other industries, but flexible electronic devices require that normally brittle electronic materials become flexible. Stiff materials can become flexible if they are sufficiently thin. Future applications, such as energy systems for the internet-of-things, will likely require new materials where trade-offs in performance and flexibility must be weighed with a metric of flexibility. The yield strain ϵy—that is, how much a material can stretch elastically (still recover its shape) before deforming plastically (stretching it out of shape)—for a given thickness of a material can serve as a figure of merit (FOM) for flexibility (fFoM).

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