Dependence of the electrical conductivity and elastomeric properties on sample preparation of blends of polyaniline and natural rubber
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Blend films (free-standing) containing 20% in volume of polyaniline (PANI) in 80% of natural rubber (NR) were fabricated by casting in three different ways: (1) adding PANI-EB (emeraldine base) dissolved in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) to the latex (NRL), (2) adding PANI-EB dissolved in in-cresol to NR dissolved in xylol (NRD), (3) overlaying the surface of a pure NR cast film with a PANI layer grown by in situ polymerization (NRO). All the films were immersed into HCl solution to achieve the primary doping (protonation) of PANI before the characterization. The main goal here was to investigate the elastomeric and electrical conductivity properties for each blend, which may be applied as pressure and deformation sensors in the future. The characterization was carried out by optical microscopy, dc conductivity, vibrational spectroscopy (infrared absorption and Raman scattering), thermogravimetry analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA), and tensile stress-strain curves. The results suggest that the NRL blend is the most suitable in terms of mechanical and electrical properties required for applications in pressure and deformation sensors: a gain of conductivity without losing the elastomeric property of the rubber. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.