Controlling the dynamic percolation of carbon nanotube based conductive polymer composites by addition of secondary nanofillers: The effect on electrical conductivity and tuneable sensing behaviour
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Composites Science and Technology
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In this paper, the electrical properties of ternary nanocomposites based on thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are studied. In particular two nanofillers – differing in shape and electrical properties – are used in conjunction with MWCNTs: an electrically conductive CB and an insulating needle-like nanoclay, sepiolite. The ternary nanocomposites were manufactured in a number of forms (extruded pellets, filaments and compression moulded films) and their morphological and electrical properties characterised as function of time and temperature. The presence of both secondary nanofillers is found to affect the formation of a percolating network of MWCNTs in TPU, inducing a reduced percolation threshold and tuneable strain sensing ability. These ternary nanocomposites can find application as conductive and multi-functional materials for flexible electronics, sensing films and fibres in smart textiles.