Smart Polymeric Materials for Soft Electronics

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Smart and Functional Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 June 2024 | Viewed by 4903

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Marie-Curie Fellow, CiQUS-Center for Research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: self-healing materials; TENG; flexible electronics; wearable biosensor; soft robotics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A great interest in smart polymer materials has emerged in recent years. The materials' capability to develop autonomous functions or to provide a desired response to external actions has been recognized to be of paramount importance for the development of active devices to be applied in advanced fields, especially those devoted to small-scale applications. Today, in modern polymer science, the use of a multidisciplinary approach—involving chemistry, physics, and engineering—is an unavoidable requirement to successfully design the desired components, making them suitable for specific applications. Modern smart gadgets, sensors, and actuators are frequently made of polymer materials; their functionality stems from their capacity to react to external stimuli with a discernible change. The triggering stimuli can be of a physical (temperature, light, electric or magnetic field, mechanical stress, etc.), chemical (pH, ligands, etc.), or biological (enzymes, etc.) kind, depending on the sensitive material under investigation. A smart material may be created when the responsiveness at the molecular level is well-organized, and the nanoscale response is collectively recognized at the macroscale.
In the present Special Issue, the above list is only indicative and by no means exhaustive; we welcome new research work or review articles on smart polymeric materials and their applications. We anticipate that these contributions will cover a range of polymer systems, as well as the key traits, processes, and properties of smart polymers, both at the continuum scale level and at the molecular level for varied applications.

Dr. Naveen Tiwari
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • polymers
  • sensors
  • nanocomposite
  • stretchable
  • soft electronics
  • biomedical
  • polymer chemistry

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

10 pages, 2775 KiB  
Article
A Cellulose-Based Dual-Crosslinked Framework with Sensitive Shape and Color Changes in Acid/Alkaline Vapors
by Yuxin Sun, Xinye Qian, Yan Gou, Chunling Zheng and Fang Zhang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1547; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111547 - 30 May 2024
Viewed by 144
Abstract
Cellulose detectors, as green sensors, are some of the defensive mechanisms of plants which combat environmental stresses. However, extracted cellulose struggles to fulfil these functionalities due to its rigid physical/chemical properties. In this study, a novel cellulose dual-crosslinked framework (CDCF) is proposed. This [...] Read more.
Cellulose detectors, as green sensors, are some of the defensive mechanisms of plants which combat environmental stresses. However, extracted cellulose struggles to fulfil these functionalities due to its rigid physical/chemical properties. In this study, a novel cellulose dual-crosslinked framework (CDCF) is proposed. This comprises a denser temporary physical crosslinking bond (hydrogen bonding) and a looser covalent crosslinking bond (N,N-methylenebisacrylamide), which create deformable spaces between the two crosslinking sites. Abundant pH-sensitive carboxyl groups and ultralight, highly porous structures make CDCF response very sensitive in acid/alkaline vapor environments. Hence, a significant shrinkage of CDCF was observed following exposure to vapors. Moreover, a curcumin-incorporated CDCF exhibited dual shape and color changes when exposed to acid/alkaline vapors, demonstrating great potential for the multi-detection of acid/alkaline vapors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Polymeric Materials for Soft Electronics)
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11 pages, 3447 KiB  
Article
Flat-Silk-Cocoon-Based Wearable Flexible Piezoresistive Sensor and Its Performance
by Zulan Liu, Mengyao Cai, Rui Jia, Xiang Xu, Mengting Xu, Guotao Cheng, Lan Cheng and Fangyin Dai
Polymers 2024, 16(2), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16020295 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1027
Abstract
Flexible sensors are becoming the focus of research because they are very vital for intelligent products, real-time data monitoring, and recording. The flat silk cocoon (FSC), as a special form of cocoon, has all the advantages of silk, which is an excellent biomass [...] Read more.
Flexible sensors are becoming the focus of research because they are very vital for intelligent products, real-time data monitoring, and recording. The flat silk cocoon (FSC), as a special form of cocoon, has all the advantages of silk, which is an excellent biomass carbon-based material and a good choice for preparing flexible sensors. In this work, a flexible piezoresistive sensor was successfully prepared by encapsulating carbonized flat silk cocoons (CFSCs) using an elastic matrix polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The sensing performance of the material is 0.01 kPa−1, and the monitoring range can reach 680.57 kPa. It is proved that the sensor can detect human motion and has excellent durability (>800 cycles). In addition, a sensor array for a keyboard based on CFSCs was explored. The sensor has a low production cost and a simple preparation process, and it is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Thus, it may have potential applications in wearable devices and human–computer interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Polymeric Materials for Soft Electronics)
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20 pages, 8724 KiB  
Article
Universal Approach to Integrating Reduced Graphene Oxide into Polymer Electronics
by Elena Abyzova, Ilya Petrov, Ilya Bril’, Dmitry Cheshev, Alexey Ivanov, Maxim Khomenko, Andrey Averkiev, Maxim Fatkullin, Dmitry Kogolev, Evgeniy Bolbasov, Aleksandar Matkovic, Jin-Ju Chen, Raul D. Rodriguez and Evgeniya Sheremet
Polymers 2023, 15(24), 4622; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15244622 - 5 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Flexible electronics have sparked significant interest in the development of electrically conductive polymer-based composite materials. While efforts are being made to fabricate these composites through laser integration techniques, a versatile methodology applicable to a broad range of thermoplastic polymers remains elusive. Moreover, the [...] Read more.
Flexible electronics have sparked significant interest in the development of electrically conductive polymer-based composite materials. While efforts are being made to fabricate these composites through laser integration techniques, a versatile methodology applicable to a broad range of thermoplastic polymers remains elusive. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms driving the formation of such composites are not thoroughly understood. Addressing this knowledge gap, our research focuses on the core processes determining the integration of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) with polymers to engineer coatings that are not only flexible and robust but also exhibit electrical conductivity. Notably, we have identified a particular range of laser power densities (between 0.8 and 1.83 kW/cm2), which enables obtaining graphene polymer composite coatings for a large set of thermoplastic polymers. These laser parameters are primarily defined by the thermal properties of the polymers as confirmed by thermal analysis as well as numerical simulations. Scanning electron microscopy with elemental analysis and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that conductivity can be achieved by two mechanisms—rGO integration and polymer carbonization. Additionally, high-speed videos allowed us to capture the graphene oxide (GO) modification and melt pool formation during laser processing. The cross-sectional analysis of the laser-processed samples showed that the convective flows are present in the polymer substrate explaining the observed behavior. Moreover, the practical application of our research is exemplified through the successful assembly of a conductive wristband for wearable devices. Our study not only fills a critical knowledge gap but also offers a tangible illustration of the potential impact of laser-induced rGO-polymer integration in materials science and engineering applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Polymeric Materials for Soft Electronics)
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17 pages, 7139 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Filler Dimensionality and Content on Resistive Viscoelasticity of Conductive Polymer Composites for Soft Strain Sensors
by Quanyi Mu, Ting Hu, Xinya Tian, Tongchuan Li and Xiao Kuang
Polymers 2023, 15(16), 3379; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15163379 - 11 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1308
Abstract
Soft strain sensors based on conductive polymer composites (CPCs) provide a simple and feasible detection tool in wearable electronics, soft machines, electronic skin, etc. However, the CPCs-based soft strain sensors exhibit resistive viscoelasticity (or time-dependent properties) that hinder the intuitive reflection of the [...] Read more.
Soft strain sensors based on conductive polymer composites (CPCs) provide a simple and feasible detection tool in wearable electronics, soft machines, electronic skin, etc. However, the CPCs-based soft strain sensors exhibit resistive viscoelasticity (or time-dependent properties) that hinder the intuitive reflection of the accurate strain and a simple calibration process. In this paper, CPCs with different carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon black (CB) contents were prepared, and electro-mechanical experiments were conducted to study the effect of filler dimensionality and content on the resistive viscoelasticity of CPCs, aimed at guiding the fabrication of CPCs with low resistive viscoelasticity. Furthermore, resistive viscoelasticity and mechanical viscoelasticity were compared to study the origin of the resistive viscoelasticity of CPCs. We found that, at the vicinity of their percolation threshold, the CPCs exhibit high resistive viscoelasticity despite their high sensitivity. In addition, the secondary peaks for CB/SR composite were negligible when the CB concentration was low. Generally, compared with one-dimensional CNT-filled CPCs, the zero-dimensional CB-filled CPCs show higher sensitivity, lower resistive hysteresis, lower resistance relaxation ratio, and better cyclic performance, so they are more suitable for sensor usage. By comparing the resistive viscoelasticity and mechanical viscoelasticity of CPCs, it is indicated that, when the concentration of nanoparticles (NPs) approaches the percolation thresholds, the resistive viscoelasticity is mainly derived from the change of conductive network, while when the concentration of NPs is higher, it is primarily due to the unrecoverable deformations inside the material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Polymeric Materials for Soft Electronics)
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