Elastomeric polymers can be filled with metallic micro- or nanoparticles to obtain electrical conductivity, in which the conductivity is largely determined by the intrinsic conductivity of and contact resistance between the particles. Electrons will flow through the material effectively when the percolation threshold for near-neighbor contacts is exceeded and sufficiently close contacts between the filler particles are realized for electron tunneling to occur. Silver-coated glass microparticles of two types (fibers and spheres) were used as fillers in a thermoplastic elastomer composite based on styrene–ethylene–butylene–styrene copolymer, and the direct-current (DC) resistance and radiofrequency impedance were significantly reduced by coating the filler particles with octadecylmercaptan. Not only was the resistance reduced but also the atypical positive piezoresistivity effect observed in these elastomers was strongly reduced, such that resistivity values below 0.01 Ω cm were obtained for compression ratios up to 20%. In the DC measurements, an additional decrease of resistivity was obtained by inclusion of π-extended aromatic compounds, such as diphenylhexatriene. Some qualitative theories are presented to illuminate the possible mechanisms of action of these surface coatings on the piezoresistivity.
- electron tunneling
- molecular wires
- silver filler
Albers, W. M., Karttunen, M., Wikström, L., & Vilkman, T. (2013). Effects of compression and filler particle coating on the electrical conductivity of thermoplastic elastomer composites. Journal of Electronic Materials, 42(10), 2983-2989. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11664-013-2689-6