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Kobashi, K. ; Villmow, T. ; Andres, T. ; Pötschke, P.
Liquid sensing of melt-processed poly(lactic acid)/multi-walled carbon nanotube composite films

Liquid sensing properties of poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWNT) composites were studied on the basis of the change of electrical properties on solvent contact. The composites were prepared by melt processing using a twin screw extruder. The MWNT loading differed between 0.5 and 2.0 wt%, and an electrical percolation threshold below 0.5 wt% MWNT content was obtained. TEM observations revealed that the nanotubes form a conductive network structure in the PLA matrix, which is the key for liquid sensing. Electrical resistance of the composites was monitored in solvent immersion/drying cycles on samples prepared from thin pressed composite sheets. The resistance reversibly changed upon the cycles with good reproducibility. Lower MWNT loadings resulted in larger resistance changes, indicating that the conductive MWNT network tends to readily disconnect due to the less dense structures as compared to higher loadings. Various solvents (n-hexane, toluene, chloroform, tetrahydrofuran, dichloromethane, ethanol, and water) were successfully detected, showing different degrees of the resistance changes (ca. 4–1.0 × 103 O) and the relative resistance changes (ca. 0.003–3.0 × 103). The solubility parameters of the solvents were found to be good indicators to estimate liquid sensing properties of these PLA/MWNT composites for the poor and good solvents.

Sensors and Actuators / B 134



September 2008


Functional Nanocomposites and Blends