Multi-scale numerical simulations on piezoresistivity of CNT/polymer nanocomposites

Bin Hu, Ning Hu, Yuan Li, Kentaro Akagi, Weifeng Yuan, Tomonori Watanabe, Yong Cai

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    68 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In this work, we propose a comprehensive multi-scale three-dimensional (3D) resistor network numerical model to predict the piezoresistivity behavior of a nanocomposite material composed of an insulating polymer matrix and conductive carbon nanotubes (CNTs). This material is expected to be used as highly sensitive resistance-type strain sensors due to its high piezoresistivity defined as the resistance change ratio divided by the mechanical strain. In this multi-scale 3D numerical model, three main working mechanisms, which are well known to induce the piezoresistivity of strain sensors fabricated from nanocomposites, are for the first time considered systematically. They are (a) the change of the internal conductive network formed by the CNTs, (b) the tunneling effect among neighboring CNTs, and (c) the CNTs' piezoresistivity. Comparisons between the present numerical results and our previous experimental ones were also performed to validate the present numerical model. The influence of the CNTs' piezoresistivity on the total piezoresistivity of nanocomposite strain sensors is explored in detail and further compared with that of the other two mechanisms. It is found that the first two working mechanisms (i.e., the change of the internal conductive network and the tunneling effect) play a major role on the piezoresistivity of the nanocomposite strain sensors, whereas the contribution from the CNTs' piezoresistivity is quite small. The present numerical results can provide valuable information for designing highly sensitive resistance-type strain sensors made from various nanocomposites composed of an insulating polymer matrix and conductive nanofillers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number402
    JournalNanoscale Research Letters
    Volume7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Carbon nanotube
    • Conductive network
    • Nanocomposite
    • Piezoresistivity
    • Tunneling effect

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Materials Science(all)
    • Condensed Matter Physics

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