Integral Technologies, Inc. (Bellingham, WA) garnered U.S. Patent 7,658,663 for toys and toy components that are formed of a conductive loaded resin-based material that can form the basis of antenna used in radio controlled toys.
Radio-controlled vehicles, boats, motorized model airplanes, and a variety of other RC toys may be constructed with the conductive fibers. For example, RC robots, motorized dolls or animals, learning games, motorized construction sets, and the like may be built using the conductive loaded resin-based material antennas. Generally, any type of toy that responds to radio control is envisioned. As such, a toy would have a radio receiver circuit, an antenna, and a motor or other means to move or to respond.
Contact points for an electric slot car or train can be molded of conductive loaded, resin-based material. The electrical characteristics can be altered or the visual characteristics can be altered by forming a metal layer over the conductive loaded resin-based material.
By integrating the antennas into the toy structure, the traditional whip or telescopic antenna that is typically used for a radio-controlled device is eliminated from the design. These types of antennas tend to break easily and can therefore present a safety risk for young children.
Integral Technologies’ antennas are integrated into the toys such that it is protected from easy breakage and is more visually attractive. An additional benefit of toy components comprising conductive loaded resin-based materials, says inventor Thomas Aisenbrey, is the ability to paint the components with an electrostatic paint sprayer. Esthetic qualities may thus be added to the conductive loaded resin-based material by an efficient painting process.
The conductive loaded resin-based material comprises micron and nano conductive powder(s), conductive fiber(s), or a combination of conductive powder and conductive fibers in a base resin host.
The percentage by weight of the conductive powder(s), conductive fiber(s), or a combination thereof is between about 20% and 50% of the weight of the conductive loaded resin-based material. The micron conductive powders are metals or conductive non-metals or metal plated non-metals. The micron conductive fibers may be metal fiber or metal plated fiber.
Further, the metal plated fiber may be formed by plating metal onto a metal fiber or by plating metal onto a non-metal fiber. Any platable fiber may be used as the core for a non-metal fiber. Superconductor metals may also be used as micron conductive fibers and/or as metal plating onto fibers.
The conductive loaded resin-based materials comprise micron conductive powders, micron conductive fibers, or any combination thereof, which are substantially homogenized together within the base resin, during the molding process, yielding an easy to produce low cost, electrically conductive, close tolerance manufactured part or circuit. The resulting molded article comprises a three dimensional, continuous network of conductive loading and polymer matrix.
Exemplary micron conductive powders include carbons, graphites, amines or the like, and/or of metal powders such as nickel, copper, silver, aluminum, nichrome, or plated or the like. The use of carbons or other forms of powders such as graphite(s) etc. can create additional low level electron exchange and, when used in combination with micron conductive fibers, creates a micron filler element within the micron conductive network of fiber(s) producing further electrical conductivity as well as acting as a lubricant for the molding equipment.
Carbon nanotubes may be added to the conductive loaded resin-based material. The addition of conductive powder to the micron conductive fiber loading may increase the surface conductivity of the molded part, particularly in areas where a skinning effect occurs during molding.