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Highly sensitive and flexible strain sensors based on natural rubber/graphene foam composites: the role of pore sizes of graphene foam

Abstract

The flexible strain sensors have drawn widespread consideration because of their features with excellent stretchability, durability and sensitivity. In this work, graphene foam (GF) with three-dimensional (3D) network structure was synthesized by employing the polyurethane (PU) sponges as template, and strain sensors based on the natural rubber (NR)/GF composites were fabricated through a dip-coating method. The effects of pore sizes of GF on the strain sensing performance of sensors were systematically investigated. It was founded that the network structure of GF regulated by the sizes of PU sponges had great influence on the strain sensing performance of sensors. The gauge factors of the sensitivity of NR/GF composites decrease from 1350 to 614 with the increase of the pore sizes of GF in the low strain region. Compared with others, sensor based on NR/GF-15 ppi (mesh number, the number of holes per inch) have the most advantages of high strain sensing sensitivity, intense electrical conductivity and superb signal stability. It can be used to monitor body motion behavior such as finger bending, pronunciation of different words and throat micro-motion.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by Aeronautical Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 2016ZF9009), Jiangsu Province Key Project (Grant No. BE2015158) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

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HJ, JW and BY conceived the experiments. HJ supervised the project. JW, WZ, QY and BY conducted the experiments. JW, WZ, QY and BY analyzed the data and cowrote the paper. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hongbing Jia.

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Wang, J., Zhang, W., Yin, Q. et al. Highly sensitive and flexible strain sensors based on natural rubber/graphene foam composites: the role of pore sizes of graphene foam. J Mater Sci: Mater Electron 31, 125–133 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10854-019-01698-y

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