In this work, we propose a model to quantify strain induced conductor
discontinuities based on measuring electrical resistance while applying tensile
strain to metal-polymer systems. Under strain, changing conductor geometry and
induced conductor discontinuity increase electrical resistance. On Kapton
substrates strained to ε = .07, evaporated gold films did not
deform and resistance increase was only caused by geometry change. Conversely,
discontinuity caused 31% and 72% of the resistance increase in evaporated and
printed silver films at the same strain. On PDMS substrates, the same magnitude
of discontinuity, causing 31% of the resistance increase, occurred at only
ε = .024 in evaporated silver films. At the same strain,
discontinuity caused 86% of the resistance increase in evaporated gold films.
Printed silver films were inelastic. The results suggest that traditional
fabrication techniques may be more suitable to flexible hybrid electronics
applications than additively manufactured conductors.