• Compression-induced electrical percolation and enhanced mechanical properties of polydimethylsiloxane-based nanocomposites

      Wu, D.; Li, Z.; Du, Y.; Zhang, L.; Huang, Y.; Sun, J.; Coates, Philip D.; Gao, X. (2020-08)
      In this work, a compression-induced percolation threshold was found when the thickness of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) nanocomposite samples was reduced via a spatial confining forced network assembly (SCFNA) process from 1.0 mm to 0.1 mm. Such as for PDMS/2 wt% short carbon fiber/4 wt% carbon nanotube (CNT) composite, its conductivity was more than 8 times enhanced to 487 S/m from 59.5 S/m, and the mechanical properties of composites have been improved by more than 15% accordingly. Comparatively, when increased the concentration of CNT or Gr from 1 to 4 wt%, the electrical conductivity of PDMS nanocomposites at 1 mm thickness was barely changed as it generally reached saturation and became independent of filler loading. Compared with the traditional blending method, it indicates that the SCFNA process can further promote the maximum electrical conductivity of polymer nanocomposites when the filler concentration has little effect on the conductivity. Especially under the condition of relatively high filler concentration, the electrical conductivity enhancement effect becomes more significant that is contrary to the classical percolation theory. Moreover, the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites can be slightly improved by the mechanical compression, which makes it more suitable for flexible electronic devices' applications.