Investigation of the electro-mechanical behavior of hybrid polyaniline/graphene nanocomposites, fabricated by dynamic interfacial inverse emulsion polymerization, Graphene, 4, 7-19 (2015).

This paper describes a study on electrical resistivity under loading of polyaniline (PANI)/graphene nanocomposite powders and compacts. The composites were prepared by an in-situ interfacial dynamic inverse emulsion polymerization technique under sonication of aniline in the presence of graphene sheets in chloroform. During polymerization the graphene nanoplatelets are coated with PANI and are well dispersed both in the polymeric suspension and then in the dried polymer matrix as evidenced by cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (Cryo-TEM) and high resolution scanning microscopy (HRSEM). The presence of graphene nanoplatelets lowers the electrical resistivity of the polyaniline by two orders of magnitude for both the powder and the compact composites as demonstrated by their electrical resistance measurements conducted under loading. The lowest measured electrical resistivity values were 5 Ω∙cm for 33% wt. graphene powder and 8 Ω∙cm for 41% wt. graphene compacted composites. Cyclic electrical measurements under loading showed a distinct reproducible dependence of the bulk resistivity vs. applied pressure. This repetition is a key component for electro-mechanical sensors. To the authors’ best knowledge, this is the first report on polymerization of aniline in presence of graphene by the in-situ interfacial dynamic inverse emulsion polymerization technique and also the first report on cyclic electrical measurements under pressure of PANI/graphene nanocomposites.

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