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Keywords:

  • elastomeric fibers;
  • strain sensors;
  • polyurethane;
  • PEDOT:PSS;
  • wet-spinning;
  • conducting fibers

It is a challenge to retain the high stretchability of an elastomer when used in polymer composites. Likewise, the high conductivity of organic conductors is typically compromised when used as filler in composite systems. Here, it is possible to achieve elastomeric fiber composites with high electrical conductivity at relatively low loading of the conductor and, more importantly, to attain mechanical properties that are useful in strain-sensing applications. The preparation of homogenous composite formulations from poly­urethane (PU) and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) that are also processable by fiber wet-spinning techniques are systematically evaluated. With increasing PEDOT:PSS loading in the fiber composites, the Young's modulus increases exponentially and the yield stress increases linearly. A model describing the effects of the reversible and irreversible deformations as a result of the re-arrangement of PEDOT:PSS filler networks within PU and how this relates to the electromechanical properties of the fibers during the tensile and cyclic stretching is presented.