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Polymers 2018, 10(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10010082

Electrical, Mechanical and Electromechanical Properties of Graphene-Thermoset Polymer Composites Produced Using Acetone-DMF Solvents

1
Department of Astronautical, Electrical and Energy Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome, via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy
2
Research Center on Nanotechnology Applied to Engineering of Sapienza (CNIS), Sapienza University of Rome, via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 December 2017 / Revised: 13 January 2018 / Accepted: 14 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract

Recently, graphene-polymer composites gained a central role in advanced stress and strain sensing. A fundamental step in the production of epoxy-composites filled with graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) consists in the exfoliation and dispersion of expanded graphite in a proper solvent, in the mixing of the resulting GNP suspension with the polymer matrix, and in the final removal of the solvent from the composite before curing through evaporation. The effects of traces of residual solvent on polymer curing process are usually overlooked, even if it has been found that even a small amount of residual solvent can affect the mechanical properties of the final composite. In this paper, we show that residual traces of N,N′-Dimethylformamide (DMF) in vinylester epoxy composites can induce relevant variations of the electrical, mechanical and electromechanical properties of the cured GNP-composite. To this purpose, a complete analysis of the morphological and structural characteristics of the composite samples produced using different solvent mixtures (combining acetone and DMF) is performed. Moreover, electrical, mechanical and electromechanical properties of the produced composites are assessed. In particular, the effect on the piezoresistive response of the use of DMF in the solvent mixture is analyzed using an experimental strain dependent percolation law to fit the measured electromechanical data. It is shown that the composites realized using a higher amount of DMF are characterized by a higher electrical conductivity and by a strong reduction of Young’s Modulus. View Full-Text
Keywords: graphene-polymer composites; acetone-DMF solvents; electromechanical properties graphene-polymer composites; acetone-DMF solvents; electromechanical properties
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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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D’Aloia, A.G.; Proietti, A.; Bidsorkhi, H.C.; Tamburrano, A.; De Bellis, G.; Marra, F.; Bregnocchi, A.; Sarto, M.S. Electrical, Mechanical and Electromechanical Properties of Graphene-Thermoset Polymer Composites Produced Using Acetone-DMF Solvents. Polymers 2018, 10, 82.

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