Sensitive electromechanical sensors using viscoelastic graphene-polymer nanocomposites

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Conor S Boland
  • Umar Khan
  • Gavin Ryan
  • Sebastian Barwich
  • Romina Charifou
  • Andrew Harvey
  • Claudia Backes
  • Zheling Li
  • Mauro S Ferreira
  • Matthias E Möbius
  • Jonathan N Coleman


Despite its widespread use in nanocomposites, the effect of embedding graphene in highly viscoelastic polymer matrices is not well understood. We added graphene to a lightly cross-linked polysilicone, often encountered as Silly Putty, changing its electromechanical properties substantially. The resulting nanocomposites display unusual electromechanical behavior, such as postdeformation temporal relaxation of electrical resistance and nonmonotonic changes in resistivity with strain. These phenomena are associated with the mobility of the nanosheets in the low-viscosity polymer matrix. By considering both the connectivity and mobility of the nanosheets, we developed a quantitative model that completely describes the electromechanical properties. These nanocomposites are sensitive electromechanical sensors with gauge factors >500 that can measure pulse, blood pressure, and even the impact associated with the footsteps of a small spider.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1260
Number of pages4
Issue number6317
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2016

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