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Multifunctional Poly(vinyl alcohol) Nanocomposite Organohydrogel for Flexible Strain and Temperature Sensor

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posted on 27.08.2020, 21:30 authored by Jianfeng Gu, Jianren Huang, Guoqi Chen, Linxi Hou, Jin Zhang, Xi Zhang, Xiaoxiang Yang, Lunhui Guan, Xiancai Jiang, Huiyong Liu
Hydrogels are important for stretchable and wearable multifunctional sensors, but their application is limited by their low mechanical strength and poor long-term stability. Herein, a conductive organohydrogel with a 3D honeycomb structure was prepared by integrating carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon black (CB) into a poly­(vinyl alcohol)/glycerol (PVA/Gly) organohydrogel. Such a nanocomposite organohydrogel is built on a physical cross-linking network formed by the hydrogen bonds among PVA, glycerol, and water. CNTs and CB had an add-in synergistic impact on the mechanical and electrical performances of the PVA/Gly organohydrogel because of the distinct aspect ratios and geometric shapes. The prepared organohydrogel integrated with a tensile strength of 4.8 MPa, a toughness of 15.93 MJ m–3, and flexibility with an elongation at break up to 640%. The organohydrogels also showed good antifreezing feature, long-term moisture retention, self-healing, and thermoplasticity. Sensors designed from these organohydrogels displayed high stretching sensitivity to tensile strain and temperature, with a gauge factor of 2.1 within a relatively broad strain range (up to ∼600% strain), a temperature coefficient of resistance of −0.935%·°C–1, and long-term durability. The sensors could detect full-range human physiological signals and respond to the change in temperature, which are highly desired for multifunctional wearable electronic devices.