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Carbon Nanotube Fiber Based Stretchable Conductor

Authors

  • Mei Zu,

    1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tongji University, 4800 Cao'an Highway, Shanghai 201804, China
    2. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Center for Composite Materials, University of Delaware, 130 Academy Street, Newark, DE 19716, USA
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  • Qingwen Li,

    1. Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics, 398 Ruoshui Road, Suzhou 215123, China
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  • Guojian Wang,

    1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tongji University, 4800 Cao'an Highway, Shanghai 201804, China
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  • Joon-Hyung Byun,

    1. Composites Research Center, Korean Institute of Materials Science, 797 Changwon Daero, Changwon 641831, South Korea
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  • Tsu-Wei Chou

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Center for Composite Materials, University of Delaware, 130 Academy Street, Newark, DE 19716, USA
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering and Center for Composite Materials, University of Delaware, 130 Academy Street, Newark, DE 19716, USA.
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Abstract

Carbon nanotube (CNT) based continuous fiber, a CNT assembly that could potentially retain the superb properties of individual CNTs on a macroscopic scale, belongs to a fascinating new class of electronic materials with potential applications in electronics, sensing, and conducting wires. Here, the fabrication of CNT fiber based stretchable conductors by a simple prestraining-then-buckling approach is reported. To enhance the interfacial bonding between the fibers and the poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) substrate and thus facilitate the buckling formation, CNT fibers are first coated with a thin layer of liquid PDMS before being transferred to the prestrained substrate. The CNT fibers are deformed into massive buckles, resulting from the compressive force generated upon releasing the fiber/substrate assembly from prestrain. This buckling shape is quite different from the sinusoidal shape observed previously in otherwise analogous systems. Similar experiments performed on carbon fiber/PDMS composite film, on the other hand, result in extensive fiber fracture due to the higher fiber flexural modulus. Furthermore, the CNT fiber/PDMS composite film shows very little variation in resistance (≈1%) under multiple stretching-and-releasing cycles up to a prestrain level of 40%, indicating the outstanding stability and repeatability in performance as stretchable conductors.

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