A keyboard is a common peripheral used with computers. Both desktop and laptop computers typically support a keyboard. Consisting of buttons for letters, numbers and special characters, they are used to control a connected computer.

There are several types of keyboards, however, including mechanical and membrane. In the past, mechanical keyboards were the most popular type. While you can still find mechanical keyboards available for sale, many users have since switched to membrane keyboards.

What Is a Membrane Keyboard?

A membrane keyboard is a type of keyboard that’s made of a flexible and elastic material. They typically have three layers. Membrane keyboards have a top membrane layer, followed by a middle spacer layer and then a bottom membrane layer.

The top and bottom membrane layers aren’t made of hard plastic. For a keyboard to be classified as a membrane keyboard, it must be made of a flexible and elastic material. Therefore, the top and bottom membrane layers are usually made of a synthetic material like silicone rubber. Silicone rubber is soft, flexible and elastic, making it ideal for use in membrane keyboards.

How Membrane Keyboards Work

Membrane keyboards work in the same way as membrane switches. They feature conductive traces on the bottom that creates a closed circuit when a button is pressed. By default, the conductive traces are broken. When you press a key, however, you’ll push the bottom membrane layer into the conductive traces so that it completes the circuit.

The circuit will only close when a button is pressed. Pressing a button will force the bottom membrane layer into the conductive traces. Since the bottom membrane layer also contains conductive traces, it will complete and close the circuit.

Benefits of Using a Membrane Keyboard

Why should you use a membrane keyboard? For starters, they typically last longer than other types of keyboards, including mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards are made of hard plastic, so they are exposed to greater stress during usage. Membrane keyboards are made of an elastic and flexible material that protects them from premature failure.

Membrane keyboards also offer a high level of resistance against liquids and contaminants. Although they are available in different materials, most membrane keyboards are made of silicone rubber. Silicone rubber, of course, is resistant to liquids and contaminants.

Another benefit of using a membrane keyboard is ergonomics. You’ll probably discover that membrane keyboards are easier and more natural to use than their mechanical counterparts. They require less force to push the buttons, and with their ergonomic design, many people prefer membrane keyboards.