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Enhanced Electrical Conductivity and Piezoresistive Sensing in Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotubes/Polydimethylsiloxane Nanocomposites by Constructing a Self-Segregated Structure

Abstract

Formation of high conductive networks is essential to achieve flexible conductive polymer composites (CPCs) with high force sensitivity and high electrical conductivity. In this work, self-segregated structures were built in the polydimethylsiloxane/multi-wall carbon nanotubes (PDMS/MWCNTs) nanocomposites which exhibited high piezoresistive sensitivity and low percolation threshold without sacrificing their mechanical properties. First, the PDMS was cured and pulverized into 40-60 meshes particles (with size ranging 250-425 m) as a optimum self-segregated phase to improve the subsequent electrical conductivity. Second, the uncured PDMS/MWCNTs base together with curing agent were mixed with the above PDMS particles serving as segregated particles. Finally, the mixture was cured again to form the PDMS/MWCNTs nanocomposites with self-segregated structures. The morphological evaluation indicated that MWCNTs were located in the second cured three-dimensional (3D) continuous PDMS phase, resulting in an ultralow percolation threshold of 0.003 vol.% MWCNTs. The nanocomposites with self-segregated structures with 0.2 vol.% MWCNTs achieved high electrical conductivity of 0.003S/m, while only 4.87x10-10 S/m for the conventional samples with 0.2 vol.% MWCNTs. The gauge factor (GF) of the self-segregated samples was 7.4-fold higher than that of the conventional samples at 30% compression strain. Furthermore, the self-segregated samples also showed higher compression modulus and strength than that of the conventional samples. These enhanced properties were attributed to the construction of 3D self-segregated structures, concentrated distribution of MWCNTs, and strong interfacial interaction between segregated phase and continuous phase with chemical bonds formed during the second curing processing. These self-segregated structures provide a new insight into the fabrication of high electrical conductivity and piezoresistive sensitivity elastomers for flexible force-sensitive materials.

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Apr 2017, accepted on 12 May 2017 and first published on 16 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02322G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Enhanced Electrical Conductivity and Piezoresistive Sensing in Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotubes/Polydimethylsiloxane Nanocomposites by Constructing a Self-Segregated Structure

    Z. Guo, K. Zhang, X. Dai, Y. Li, J. Guo, H. Liu, G. Li, Y. Tan, J. Zeng and M. Wang, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02322G

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