Stretchable, Highly Durable Ternary Nanocomposite Strain Sensor for Structural Health Monitoring of Flexible Aircraft.Sensors (Basel). 2017 Nov 20; 17(11)S
Harmonious developments of electrical and mechanical performances are crucial for stretchable sensors in structural health monitoring (SHM) of flexible aircraft such as aerostats and morphing aircrafts. In this study, we prepared a highly durable ternary conductive nanocomposite made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), carbon black (CB) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to fabricate stretchable strain sensors. The nanocomposite has excellent electrical and mechanical properties by intensively optimizing the weight percentage of conducting fillers as well as the ratio of PDMS pre-polymer and curing agent. It was found that the nanocomposite with homogeneous hybrid filler of 1.75 wt % CB and 3 wt % MWCNTs exhibits a highly strain sensitive characteristics of good linearity, high gauge factor (GF ~ 12.25) and excellent durability over 10⁵ stretching-releasing cycles under a tensile strain up to 25% when the PDMS was prepared at the ratio of 12.5:1. A strain measurement of crack detection for the aerostats surface was also employed, demonstrating a great potential of such ternary nanocomposite used as stretchable strain sensor in SHM.