Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol.344, 138-154, 2018
An approach to prepare mechanically robust full IPN strengthened conductive cotton fabric for high strain tolerant electromagnetic interference shielding
High mechanical strength coated conductive flexible cotton fabric with electrical and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding properties has been developed by low cost and facile one-pot fabrication technique. Herein, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and natural rubber latex (NRL) have been judicially amalgamated with specialty conducting black. The polymer blends were not only physically mixed but also covalently interwoven by means of inter-penetrating polymeric network (IPN) approach. The morphological study combined with electron microscopy and 3D micro-computed tomography reveals uniform and flexible conductive network formation. The coated fabric was tested under rigorous environmental and practical factors/ stresses (e.g., prolonged sunlight exposure, flexibility under liquid nitrogen, abrasion, water durability and detergent action) which provide information regarding the sustainability of the fabric for outdoor applications. Besides the surprising improvement in uniaxial mechanical property, the unique coated fabric also shows high electrical attributes. Such long-term cyclic deformation study shows similar to 95% retention of EM performance due to the flexible network structure. The measurements of complex permittivity and impedance matching coefficient also support the absorption capacity of the coated fabrics. The biphasic polymeric system (here PVA and NRL) synergistically improves the dispersion of fillers even at high loading (i.e., stabilization), anti-leaching feature and surprisingly the tensile property. For extensive functionality, the EMI shielding of the coated fabric was experimented under those simulated practical forces, which can make them useful as a high performing flexible wearable fabric against EM radiation pollution.
Keywords:Cotton fabric (Cf);Specialty conducting black (K-CB);Full-interpenetrating polymer network (full-IPN);Electromagnetic interference (EMI);Shielding effectiveness (SE);Quality assurance (QA)