Influence of silver/silver chloride electroless plating on the Shore hardness of polyurethane substrates for dry EEG electrodes

Dry electrodes enable a shorter preparation time for infant EEG. Since infant skin is more sensitive than adult skin, soft electrodes are required to reduce the mechanical stress for this sensitive skin. Thus, soft electrodes are crucial for eventual repetitive and long-term use like in neonatal intensive care units. A biocompatible polyurethane (PU) can be produced in low hardness resulting in a soft and flexible electrode substrate. Silver/silver chloride (Ag/AgCl) electroless plating provides a conductive, electrochemically stable coating but the process may alter the mechanical properties of the electrode substrate. In this study, we assess the hardness of PU material before and after Ag/AgCl plating. The test sample design for Shore hardness measurement is based on ISO 7619-1:2010. Sample production consists of a 3D print master model, silicone molding, PU casting, and finally electroless plating. UPX 8400-1 (Sika AG, Switzerland) is used for the sample substrates. Test samples are produced with 7 different Shore hardness (range A40-A95) and 14 samples (each hardness: 1 uncoated and 1 coated). The hardness measurements are carried out with a lever-operated test stand Shore hardness tester model with a digital hardness tester (TI-AC with HDA 100-1, KERN & SOHN GmbH, Germany). It is shown that there is a hardness increase (Shore A) due to Ag/AgCl coating with a grand average of 1.1±0.7 (p<0.05). The largest increase of 2.1±0.2 is seen on the initial lowest Shore hardness sample (Shore hardness: 43.4±0.1). The absolute increase of hardness due to the Ag/AgCl coating decreases with increasing substrate hardness. It is concluded that there is no strong hardness increase of PU substrates due to Ag/AgCl plating. Therefore, the material is suitable as a soft electrode for repetitive and long-term use in infant applications.


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