Electroluminescent Wire

Electroluminescent Wire

Shawn Van Every and Matt Pilotti Intro to Physical Computing Technical Research Project, Fall 2002

ElWire (Electroluminescent Wire) or LyTecTM is a product of ELAM Electroluminescent Industries Ltd.. It is a flexible wire that glows when AC electricity is applied to it. It comes in a variety of colors and widths and can be powered with relatively small amounts of electricity while staying cool. Further more, ElWire is very flexible, provides 360 degree lighting, is portable and lasts up to 25,000 hours.

As the sole manufacturer of ElWire, ELAM is the best source for detailed technical information. The following excerpt from their website describes the makeup and function of ElWire:

This PDF (http://www.elam.co.il/img/pdf/Electroluminescent_effect.pdf) from ELAM describes the electrical nature and chemical compounds in ElWire. In essence, ElWire itself completes a circuit when AC Electricity is applied to the core and the opposite charge is applied to the wire wrapped around the core.

This page (http://www.elam.co.il/products.php?cat=6#) shows the wide range of colors available and includes a link to a PDF spec sheet available for each color (in this particular diameter) as well as a PDF spec sheet for all of the common attributes (at the particular diameter).
Some examples are: The ElWire FAQ (http://www.elam.co.il/faq.php) is a good source of information as are the assembling instructions (http://www.elam.co.il/img/pdf/103.pdf).

Here are some images detailing our experience with ElWire:

This image illustrates the soldering together of ElWire (Red) with 22 gauge wire. The Yellow wire is soldered to the copper core of the ElWire while the Blue wire is soldered to the thin wires wrapped around the core. The next step is to protect ourselves and equipment by taping the two soldered areas up so as to insure they never touch.

This image shows two strands of green ElWire connected to the same power source, one is lit the other is not. This illustrates some of the difficulties in getting and maintaining good connections with ElWire, specifically the difficulties we encountered keeping the thin wires intact.

This image details the inverter (2 AA Batteries to 120 Volts AC) including our wires from the blue ElWire to the inverter.

Here is a detail of utilizing a reed relay with switch on our breadboard to turn on and off the ElWire. The AC electricity powering the ElWire travels lengthwise through the relay when 5VDC is applied to the side of the relay.

You can learn more as well as purchase ElWire from the following websites:
ELAM USA Inc. http://www.elamusainc.com

Some ideas for ElWire use include: