Strain-dependent electrical resistance of multi-walled carbon nanotube/polymer composite films

Myounggu Park, Purdue University
Hyonny Kim, Univ Calif San Diego, Dept Struct Engn
Jeffrey Youngblood, Materials Engineering, Purdue University

Date of this Version

February 2008


Nanotechnology 19 (2008) 055705

This document has been peer-reviewed.



The strain- dependent electrical resistance characteristics of multi- walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/polymer composite films were investigated. In this research, polyethylene oxide (PEO) is used as the polymer matrix. Two representative volume fractions of MWCNT/PEO composite films were selected: 0.56 vol% (near the percolation threshold) and 1.44 vol% (away from the percolation threshold) of MWCNT. An experimental setup which can measure electrical resistance and strain simultaneously and continuously has been developed. Unique and repeatable relationships in resistance versus strain were obtained for multiple specimens with different volume fractions of MWCNT. The overall pattern of electrical resistance change versus strain for the specimens tested consists of linear and nonlinear regions. A resistance change model to describe the combination of linear and nonlinear modes of electrical resistance change as a function of strain is suggested. The unique characteristics in electrical resistance change for different volume fractions imply that MWCNT/PEO composite films can be used as tunable strain sensors and for application into embedded sensor systems in structures.