Sensitive electromechanical sensors using viscoelastic graphene-polymer nanocomposites

Boland, Conor S, Khan, Umar, Ryan, Gavin, Barwich, Sebastian, Charifou, Romina, Harvey, Andrew, Backes, Claudia, Li, Zheling, Ferreira, Mauro S, Möbius, Matthia E, Young, Robert J and Coleman, Jonathan N (2016) Sensitive electromechanical sensors using viscoelastic graphene-polymer nanocomposites. Science, 354 (6317). pp. 1257-1260. ISSN 0036-8075

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Despite its widespread use in nanocomposites, the effect of embedding graphene in highly viscoelastic polymer matrices is not well-understood. We add graphene to a lightly cross-linked polysilicone, often encountered as Silly Putty, changing its electro-mechanical properties significantly. The resulting nanocomposites display unusual electromechanical behavior such as post-deformation temporal relaxation of electrical resistance and non-monotonic changes in resistivity with strain. These phenomena are associated with the mobility of the nanosheets in the low-viscosity polymer matrix. By considering both the connectivity and mobility of the nanosheets, we develop a quantitative model that completely describes the electromechanical properties. These nanocomposites are sensitive electromechanical sensors with gauge factors >500 which can measure pulse, blood pressure and even the impact associated with the footsteps of a small spider.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Research Centres and Groups: Materials Physics Group
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > QC Physics
Depositing User: Alice Jackson
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 15:41
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2019 11:50

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