Superhydrophobic highly flexible doubly cross-linked aerogel/carbon nanotube composites as strain/pressure sensors
We report novel superhydrophobic highly flexible composites based on a doubly cross-linked (DCL) aerogel and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for strain/pressure sensing. The DCL aerogel/CNT composite is prepared by radical polymerization of vinylmethyldimethoxysilane and vinyldimethylmethoxysilane, respectively, followed by hydrolytic co-polycondensation of the obtained polyvinylmethyldimethoxysilane and polyvinyldimethylmethoxysilane, combined with the incorporation of CNTs. Benefiting from the flexible methyl-rich DCL structure of the aerogel and conductive CNTs, the resultant DCL aerogel/CNT composite combines superhydrophobicity, high compressibility, high bendability, high elasticity, and strain- and pressure-sensitive conductivity. We demonstrate that the composite can be applied as a high-performance strain/pressure sensor for the detection of arterial pulse waves and joint bending with high sensitivity and high durability against humidity.