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Nanotechnology. 2013 Jul 5;24(26):265704.

A numerical investigation on piezoresistive behaviour of carbon nanotube/polymer composites: mechanism and optimizing principle.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Department of Precision Instrument, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, People’s Republic of China.


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) filled polymeric composites can be used as a kind of flexible piezoresistive material in potentially many fields. Due to the diversity of CNTs and polymers, the mechanism and features of their piezoresistive behaviour is still not fully understood. This paper reports our investigations into the mechanism and optimization of piezoresistive CNT/polymer composites. Numerical simulation results showed that the junction resistances between CNTs are a major component of the network conductance of the composite as well as the piezoresistive behaviour. Average junction gap variation (AJGV) was introduced as a quantitative description of the conductance variation of a CNT network caused by strain and the conductance variation of the CNT network was found to be dominated by AJGV. Numerical simulation and analytical results indicated that the key parameters affecting AJGV include the orientation and diameter of CNTs, Poisson’s ratio of the polymer, and the concentration of CNTs in the polymer matrix. An optimizing principle was then given for piezoresistive CNT/polymer composites.

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