What is Velostat?

Velostat is a lightweight, inexpensive, electrically conductive material made of a polymer filled with carbon black. It's often used to protect sensitive electronic components from electrostatic discharge (ESD). (The pressure-sensitive nature of Velostat makes it useful in a ton of ways besides simple ESD protection.)



Velostat exhibits several key properties that make it unique:

  • Conductivity: While Velostat is conductive, its level of conductivity can change under pressure, making it a versatile material for sensing applications.
  • Flexibility: It can be easily shaped and cut to size, allowing for diverse uses in different fields.
  • Pressure Sensitivity: Velostat’s resistance changes when pressure is applied to it, which can be used to measure force or detect variations in mechanical stress.

Velostat works by changing its electrical resistance when pressure is applied. When the material is at rest, it has a certain level of electrical resistance. When pressure is applied, the particles within the material come closer together, which changes the electrical resistance. This change can be measured and used to infer the amount of pressure or force being applied.

Use in Pressure Sensing and Beyond

Velostat’s unique properties make it particularly suited for pressure sensing applications:

  • Touch Sensing: By placing Velostat between two layers of conductive material, it can be used to create pressure-sensitive touch pads or switches.
  • Force Sensing Resistors: It can act as a variable resistor in an electronic circuit, with the resistance changing based on the force applied, useful in creating custom force sensors.
  • Wearable Technology: Integrating Velostat into smart garments can help monitor body movements, or create interactive interfaces that respond to touch or pressure.
  • Soft Robotics: In soft robotic applications, Velostat can be used to create sensors that provide feedback about the robot’s interactions with its environment.