Coupled electro-mechanical properties of multiwall carbon nanotube/polypropylene composites for strain sensing applications
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The electrical, mechanical, and coupled electro-mechanical (piezoresistive) properties of multiwall carbon nanotube/polypropylene (MWCNT/PP) composites at four MWCNT concentrations above electrical percolation (4–10 wt %) were investigated. The electrical conductivity of the composite increased monotonically from 0.77 to 15.0 S/m with the increase of MWCNT concentration. The elastic modulus also increased monotonically with increased MWCNT concentration with the concomitant reduction of ultimate strain. The coupled signal between electrical resistance and applied strain during tensile loading displayed a marked change toward higher sensitivity at the elastic-to-plastic transition zone of the polymer composite, which allowed the identification of polymer yielding by the sole monitoring of electrical resistance. Large ratios (of the order of 15–29) of normalized changes in electrical resistance over applied strain (“gage factor”) were found in the plastic zone, and such electro-mechanical sensitivity was higher for composites with lower MWCNT content.
KeywordsApplied Strain Gage Factor MWCNT Content Electrical Percolation MWCNT Concentration
The authors acknowledge the technical support received by O. Rodríguez-Uicab during the piezoresistivity tests. This work was partially supported by CONACYT-CIAM Project # 188089.