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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2017 Dec 6;9(48):42266-42277. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b16975. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

Flexible and Lightweight Pressure Sensor Based on Carbon Nanotube/Thermoplastic Polyurethane-Aligned Conductive Foam with Superior Compressibility and Stability.

Author information

1
School of Materials Science and Engineering, The Key Laboratory of Material Processing and Mold of Ministry of Education, Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou, Henan 450001, P. R. China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials Engineering, Sichuan University , Chengdu, Sichuan 610065, P. R. China.

Abstract

Flexible and lightweight carbon nanotube (CNT)/thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) conductive foam with a novel aligned porous structure was fabricated. The density of the aligned porous material was as low as 0.123 g·cm-3. Homogeneous dispersion of CNTs was achieved through the skeleton of the foam, and an ultralow percolation threshold of 0.0023 vol % was obtained. Compared with the disordered foam, mechanical properties of the aligned foam were enhanced and the piezoresistive stability of the flexible foam was improved significantly. The compression strength of the aligned TPU foam increases by 30.7% at the strain of 50%, and the stress of the aligned foam is 22 times that of the disordered foam at the strain of 90%. Importantly, the resistance variation of the aligned foam shows a fascinating linear characteristic under the applied strain until 77%, which would benefit the application of the foam as a desired pressure sensor. During multiple cyclic compression-release measurements, the aligned conductive CNT/TPU foam represents excellent reversibility and reproducibility in terms of resistance. This nice capability benefits from the aligned porous structure composed of ladderlike cells along the orientation direction. Simultaneously, the human motion detections, such as walk, jump, squat, etc. were demonstrated by using our flexible pressure sensor. Because of the lightweight, flexibility, high compressibility, excellent reversibility, and reproducibility of the conductive aligned foam, the present study is capable of providing new insights into the fabrication of a high-performance pressure sensor.

KEYWORDS:

aligned foam; carbon nanotubes; nanocomposite; piezoresistive material; thermoplastic polyurethane

PMID:
29131573
DOI:
10.1021/acsami.7b16975

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