Graphene-coated polymer foams as tuneable impact sensors
The use of graphene-based nanocomposites as electromechanical sensors has been broadly explored in recent times with a number of papers describing porous, foam-like composites. However, there are no reported foam-based materials that are capable of large dynamic compressive load measurements and very few studies on composite impact sensing. In this work, we describe a simple method of infusing commercially-available foams with pristine graphene to form conductive composites, which we refer to as G-foam. Displaying a strain-dependent electrical response, G-foam was found to be a reasonably effective pressure sensing material. More interestingly, G-foam is a sensitive impact-sensing material. Through the addition of various amounts of polymer filler, the mechanical properties of the composites can be tuned leading to the controllable variation of the impact sensing range. We have developed a simple model which quantitatively explains all our impact sensing data.