Membrane switches have become increasingly popular in recent years. Like all switches, they are circuit-controlling interfaces. Switches are devices that offer an interface, such as a keypad, that you can use to open and close the circuits. Membrane switches, however, feature a unique design that distinguishes them from traditional switches.
A membrane switch is a type of circuit-controlling interface that’s made of a flexible substrate. Most membrane switches have multiple substrates in their construction. At least one of these substrates is made of a flexible material. Considering that membrane switches serve the same purpose as traditional switches, you might be wondering why they’ve become so popular.
Available in a Variety of Circuit Materials
All membrane switches feature circuits. After all, they are interfaces that allow human operators to control circuits — typically by pressing keys or buttons. You can find membrane switches, however, in different circuit materials.
Most membrane switches feature printed circuits. With that said, some of them feature silver printed circuits, whereas others feature copper and polyimide printed circuits. When ordering a membrane switch, you’ll have the freedom to choose from a variety of circuit materials such as these.
Protection From Moisture and Liquids
Membrane switches are naturally protected from moisture and liquids. As shown in the above photo, they feature a sealed top layer. The top layer wraps completely over all of the underlying layers, including the circuit layer. Even if the top layer is exposed to moisture or liquids, the underlying layers will remain dry.
Because they are sealed, membrane switches are a popular choice for commercial applications. Many restaurants, retail stores and other businesses prefer them over mechanical switches. The sealed top layer protects membrane switches from moisture- and liquid-related damage, which is common in workspaces.
Another reason membrane switches are on the rise is tactile feedback. They produce tactile feedback naturally in response to commands. Also known as haptic feedback, tactile feedback is a force that’s created in response to a keypress. When you press a key or button on a membrane switch, it will respond by springing back to its original and upright position.
Tactile feedback reduces the risk of errors with membrane keypads. You’ll be able to feel, as well as hear, the keys or buttons pop back up. Therefore, tactile feedback protects against erroneous input. Along with their variety of circuit materials and protection from moisture and liquid, tactile feedback is one of several reasons why membrane switches have become so popular.