Highly sensitive strain sensors based on fragmentized carbon nanotube/polydimethylsiloxane composites.Nanotechnology. 2018 Jun 08; 29(23):235501.N
Wearable strain sensors based on nanomaterial/elastomer composites have potential applications in flexible electronic skin, human motion detection, human-machine interfaces, etc. In this research, a type of high performance strain sensors has been developed using fragmentized carbon nanotube/polydimethylsiloxane (CNT/PDMS) composites. The CNT/PDMS composites were ground into fragments, and a liquid-induced densification method was used to fabricate the strain sensors. The strain sensors showed high sensitivity with gauge factors (GFs) larger than 200 and a broad strain detection range up to 80%, much higher than those strain sensors based on unfragmentized CNT/PDMS composites (GF < 1). The enhanced sensitivity of the strain sensors is ascribed to the sliding of individual fragmentized-CNT/PDMS-composite particles during mechanical deformation, which causes significant resistance change in the strain sensors. The strain sensors can differentiate mechanical stimuli and monitor various human body motions, such as bending of the fingers, human breathing, and blood pulsing.