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Highly conductive, printable and stretchable composite films of carbon nanotubes and silver

Abstract

Conductive films that are both stretchable and flexible could have applications in electronic devices1,2, sensors3,4, actuators5 and speakers6. A substantial amount of research has been carried out on conductive polymer composites7, metal electrode-integrated rubber substrates8,9,10 and materials based on carbon nanotubes and graphene1,2,11,12,13. Here we present highly conductive, printable and stretchable hybrid composites composed of micrometre-sized silver flakes and multiwalled carbon nanotubes decorated with self-assembled silver nanoparticles. The nanotubes were used as one-dimensional, flexible and conductive scaffolds to construct effective electrical networks among the silver flakes. The nanocomposites, which included polyvinylidenefluoride copolymer, were created with a hot-rolling technique, and the maximum conductivities of the hybrid silver–nanotube composites were 5,710 S cm−1 at 0% strain and 20 S cm−1 at 140% strain, at which point the film ruptured. Three-dimensional percolation theory reveals that Poisson's ratio for the composite is a key parameter in determining how the conductivity changes upon stretching.

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Figure 1: Schematic of the preparation of a hybrid Ag–MWNT composite film.
Figure 2: Hybrid Ag–MWNT composite films.
Figure 3: Conductivity and stretchability of various hybrid Ag–MWNT films.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Programme (grant no. 2009-0090017) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), the Center for Nanoscale Mechatronics & Manufacturing (grant no. 2009K000160) which is a 21st-Century Frontier Research programme, and the World Class University programme (grant no. R31-2008-000-10029-0) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Korea.

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K-Y.C., Y.O. and S.B. conceived and designed the experiments, which were carried out by K-Y.C., Y.O. and J.R. H.R.C. provided nitrile butadiene rubber. Y-J.K. designed the finite element modelling, and J-H.A. designed the stretching and light-emitting diode experiments. K-Y.C., Y.O. and S.B. wrote the paper. All authors contributed to data analysis and scientific discussion.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Seunghyun Baik.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Chun, KY., Oh, Y., Rho, J. et al. Highly conductive, printable and stretchable composite films of carbon nanotubes and silver. Nature Nanotech 5, 853–857 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2010.232

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