Stretchable electronics have been a subject of increased research over the past decade (Lacour, S., et al., 2006, “Mechanisms of Reversible Stretchability of Thin Metal Films on Elastomeric Substrates,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 88(20), p. 204103; Lacour, S., et al., 2004, “Design and Performance of Thin Metal Film Interconnects for Skin-Like Electronic Circuits,” IEEE Electron Device Lett., 25(4), pp. 179–181; and Maghribi, M., et al., 2005, “Stretchable Micro-Electrode Array,” International IEEE-EMBS Conference on Microtechnologies in Medicine and Biology, pp. 80–83.). Although stretchable electronic devices are a relatively new area for the semiconductor/electronics industries, recent market research indicates that the market could be worth more than $900 million by 2023 (PR Newswire, 2015, “Stretchable Electronics Market Worth $911.37 Million by 2023,” PR Newswire, Albuquerque, NM.). This paper investigates mechanical testing methods designed to test the stretching capabilities of potential products across the electronics industry to help quantify and understand the mechanical integrity, response, and the reliability of these devices. Typically, the devices consist of stiff modules connected by stretchable traces (Loher, T., et al., 2006, “Stretchable Electronic Systems,” Electronics Packaging Technology Conference (EPTC '06), pp. 271–276.). They require electrical and mechanical connectivity between the modules to function. In some cases, these devices will be subject to biaxial and/or cyclic mechanical strain, especially for wearable applications. The ability to replicate these mechanical strains and understand their effect on the function of the devices is critical to meet performance, process, and reliability requirements. In this paper, methods for simulating biaxial and out-of-plane strains similar to what may occur in a wearable device on the human body are proposed. Electrical and/or optical monitoring (among other methods) can be used to determine cycles to failure depending on expected failure modes. Failure modes can include trace damage in stretchable regions, trace damage in functional component regions, or bulk stretchable material damage, among others. Three different methods of applying mechanical strain are described, including a stretchable air bladder method, membrane test method, and lateral expansion method.

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