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Ultrasensitive and Highly Compressible Piezoresistive Sensor Based on Polyurethane Sponge Coated with a Cracked Cellulose Nanofibril/Silver Nanowire Layer

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posted on 22.02.2019 by Shuaidi Zhang, Hu Liu, Shuaiyuan Yang, Xianzhang Shi, Dianbo Zhang, Chongxin Shan, Liwei Mi, Chuntai Liu, Changyu Shen, Zhanhu Guo
With the rapid development of flexible wearable electronics, a piezoresistive sensor with low detection limit and wide strain sensing range turns out to be a great challenge for its application in this field. Here, a cracked cellulose nanofibril/silver nanowire (CA) layer-coated polyurethane (PU) sponge was acquired through a simple dip-coating process followed by precompression treatment. The electrical conductivity and mechanical property of the conductive CA@PU sponge could be effectively tuned through changing the dip-coating number. As a piezoresistive sensor, the sponge exhibited the capability of detecting both small and large motions over a wide compression strain range of 0–80%. Based on the “crack effect”, the sensor possessed a detection limit as low as 0.2% and the gauge factor [GF, GF = (ΔR/R0)/ε, where ΔR, R0, and ε represent the instantaneous resistance change, original resistance, and strain applied, respectively] was as high as 26.07 in the strain range of 0–0.6%. Moreover, the “contact effect” enabled the sensor to be applicable for larger strain, and the GF decreased first and then became stable with increasing compression strain. In addition, frequency- and strain-dependent sensing performances were observed, demonstrating that the sensor can respond reliably to different applied frequencies and strains. Furthermore, the sensor displayed exceptional stability, repeatability, and durability over 500 cycles. Finally, the sensor could be applicable for the detection of various human bodily motions, such as phonation, stamping, knee bending, and wrist bending. Most importantly, the sponge also exhibited great potential for the fabrication of artificial electronic skin. Herein, the conductive CA@PU sponge will undoubtedly promote the development of high-performance flexible wearable electronics.

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