What is a membrane switch?
A membrane switch is a momentary electrical on/off switch for activating and de-activating a circuit. Whereas a mechanical switch is usually made of copper and plastic parts, a membrane switch circuit is printed on a heat-stabilized polyester or Indium tin oxide (ITO) using a copper-, silver- or graphite/silver ink to lend conductivity.
Membrane switches have many layers. The top layer, the graphic overlay, is the decorative layer that shows the visual functions of the membrane switch. After that is the membrane layer, which carries one of the poles of the switch or a conductive shorting pad. Next is the tactile layer which has the metal domes in tactile switches, the static layer that has one or more poles of the switch and then the rigid backer which is attached to the instrument housing. Despite these layers, membrane switches are very thin.
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