Stretchable and conductive composites in thermally drawn fibers
The thermal drawing technique is ideally suited for the co-processing of diverse materials into fibers of extended lengths, fine architectures, and sophisticated functions. In a recent breakthrough, the drawing of elastomeric materials was demonstrated for the first time, enabling the development of highly deformable multi-material fibers. The capabilities of fiber-based devices can be dramatically extended by introducing stretchable and electrically conductive composites. However, engineering a composite, which is at the same time stretchable, conductive, and compatible with thermal drawing, is challenging.
This project entails the rheological, mechanical, and electrical characterization of composites of diverse compositions. Promising composites will be processed into fibers with targeted structures and functionalities. By tuning the architecture and pairing the composite with other high-performance materials, such as liquid metals, resistive or capacitive sensing can be achieved. Such fiber-based sensors can be employed in medical devices, smart textiles, and soft robotics.
-Fabrication of nanofiller-elastomer composites
-Processing of diverse materials into fibers with complex structures through thermal drawing
-Characterization of rheological (DMA, rheometer), mechanical (tensile testing), and electrical properties (Sourcemeter) of raw materials and fibers
-Design of specialized testing setups (Matlab, Labview)
-Design of fiber-based devices for sensing of pressure and elongation including circuitry (Arduino)
-Implementation in real-world applications
References: W. Yan, A. Page, T. Nguyen-Dang, Y. Qu, F. Sordo, L. Wei, F. Sorin, Adv. Mater. 2019, 31, 1802348.  Y. Qu, T. Nguyen-Dang, A. G. Page, W. Yan, T. Das Gupta, G. M. Rotaru, R. M. Rossi, V. D. Favrod, N. Bartolomei, F. Sorin, Adv. Mater. 2018, 30, 1707251.