Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol.373, 298-306, 2019
Electrically conductive and fluorine free superhydrophobic strain sensors based on SiO2/graphene-decorated electrospun nanofibers for human motion monitoring
It is desirable and still challenging to develop flexible, breathable and anti-corrosive wearable strain sensors with high stretchability and sensitivity that can realize full range body motions. Here, a superhydrophobic and conductive nanofiber composites (SCNCs) with a hierarchical SiO2/graphene shell and polyurethane (PU) nanofiber core microstructure were fabricated by assembling graphene on PU nanofibers under the assistance of ultrasonication, followed by stretching-induced SiO2 nanoparticles decoration onto the graphene shell. The introduction of graphene and SiO2 nanoparticles improves both Young's modulus, tensile strength and the elongation at break of PU nanofibrous membrane. The superhydrophobicity and conductivity can be almost maintained after the SCNCs are subject to cyclic stretching or abrasion or even exposed to harsh conditions. When used as strain sensors, the SCNCs show high stretchability, reliability and good durability and can be used in harsh environment including acid and salt conditions. The SCNCs are then assembled to monitor full range body motions including both subtle and large body movements, making it a promising candidate in wearable electronics.