Piezoelectric Response of Aligned Electrospun Polyvinylidene Fluoride/Carbon Nanotube Nanofibrous Membranes

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2018 Jun 10;8(6):420. doi: 10.3390/nano8060420.


Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) shows piezoelectricity related to its β-phase content and mechanical and electrical properties influenced by its morphology and crystallinity. Electrospinning (ES) can produce ultrafine and well-aligned PVDF nanofibers. In this study, the effects of the presence of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and optimized ES parameters on the crystal structures and piezoelectric properties of aligned PVDF/CNT nanofibrous membranes were examined. The optimal β content and piezoelectric coefficient (d33) of the aligned electrospun PVDF reached 88% and 27.4 pC/N; CNT addition increased the β-phase content to 89% and d33 to 31.3 pC/N. The output voltages of piezoelectric units with aligned electrospun PVDF/CNT membranes increased linearly with applied loading and showed good stability during cyclic dynamic compression and tension. The sensitivities of the piezoelectric units with the membranes under dynamic compression and tension were 2.26 mV/N and 4.29 mV/%, respectively. In bending tests, the output voltage increased nonlinearly with bending angle because complicated forces were involved. The output of the aligned membrane-based piezoelectric unit with CNT was 1.89 V at the bending angle of 100°. The high electric outputs indicate that the aligned electrospun PVDF/CNT membranes are potentially effective for flexible wearable sensor application with high sensitivity.

Keywords: aligned nanofibrous membrane; carbon nanotube (CNT); electrospinning; piezoelectricity; polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF); rotating drum collection.