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Ultra-stretchable, sensitive and durable strain sensors based on polydopamine encapsulated carbon nanotubes/elastic bands

Abstract

High-performance flexible and wearable strain sensors for human motion detections have been widely concerned recently. Here, we report a flexible strain sensor with ultra-high stretchability, large sensitivity and excellent durability based on common elastic bands from daily life. The strain sensor was fabricated by embedding carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into elastic bands (EB) through swelling-ultrasonication treatment. It is found the CNTs with large aspect ratio migrated into the inner regions of EB successfully, generating a conductive CNTs-EB shell with a thickness of about 30 μm. The CNTs/EB bands were then coated with polydopamine (PDA) layer by self-polymerization of dopamine to stabilize the sensitive regions. Interestingly, the specific strength and specific elongation of PDA/CNTs/EB are enhanced by about 55% and 23% respectively after the encapsulation of PDA, compared to the pure EB. Strain sensing tests indicated that our strain sensors had a desirable integration of ultra-high sensing range (920% strain), large sensitivity (a gage factor (GF) of 129 under the strain of 780%-920%), superior stability (10000 cycles at 100% strain) and a fast response speed. In addition, it is found there is a direct correlation between the mechanical hysteresis HM value and the weak shoulder peak. The sensing mechanism of the strain sensors under diverse strain were investigated by the online optical microscopy observation. The monitoring of human body motions (such as finger bending, muscle movements and knee-joint movements) proved that our stretchable PDA/CNTs/EB sensor had wide application prospects as human-machine interfaces in artificial intelligence (AI) field.

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Jun 2018, accepted on 10 Jul 2018 and first published on 10 Jul 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8TC02702A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Ultra-stretchable, sensitive and durable strain sensors based on polydopamine encapsulated carbon nanotubes/elastic bands

    Y. Wang, Y. Jia, Y. Zhou, Y. Wang, G. Zheng, K. Dai, C. Liu and C. Shen, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8TC02702A

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