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Sensors 2016, 16(12), 2148; doi:10.3390/s16122148

A Flexible and Highly Sensitive Pressure Sensor Based on a PDMS Foam Coated with Graphene Nanoplatelets

1
Nanotechnology Research Center Applied to Engineering (CNIS), Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Astronautics, Electrical and Energy Engineering (DIAEE), Sapienza University of Rome, 00184 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Manuel Quevedo
Received: 22 October 2016 / Revised: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 December 2016 / Published: 16 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [9070 KB, uploaded 16 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

The demand for high performance multifunctional wearable devices is more and more pushing towards the development of novel low-cost, soft and flexible sensors with high sensitivity. In the present work, we describe the fabrication process and the properties of new polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) foams loaded with multilayer graphene nanoplatelets (MLGs) for application as high sensitive piezoresistive pressure sensors. The effective DC conductivity of the produced foams is measured as a function of MLG loading. The piezoresistive response of the MLG-PDMS foam-based sensor at different strain rates is assessed through quasi-static pressure tests. The results of the experimental investigations demonstrated that sensor loaded with 0.96 wt.% of MLGs is characterized by a highly repeatable pressure-dependent conductance after a few stabilization cycles and it is suitable for detecting compressive stresses as low as 10 kPa, with a sensitivity of 0.23 kPa−1, corresponding to an applied pressure of 70 kPa. Moreover, it is estimated that the sensor is able to detect pressure variations of ~1 Pa. Therefore, the new graphene-PDMS composite foam is a lightweight cost-effective material, suitable for sensing applications in the subtle or low and medium pressure ranges. View Full-Text
Keywords: pressure sensor; foam; graphene; nanoplatelets; PDMS; piezoresistivity pressure sensor; foam; graphene; nanoplatelets; PDMS; piezoresistivity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rinaldi, A.; Tamburrano, A.; Fortunato, M.; Sarto, M.S. A Flexible and Highly Sensitive Pressure Sensor Based on a PDMS Foam Coated with Graphene Nanoplatelets. Sensors 2016, 16, 2148.

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