Electrically conductive composites based on an elastomeric matrix filled with expanded graphite as a potential oil sensing material
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The preparation and properties of electrically conductive polymeric composites based on an elastomer matrix (styrene-isoprene styrene block copolymer) filled with expanded graphite are reported in this paper. The developed materials were tested as oil sensors in various modes. The operation of this sensor is based on changes in the electrical resistance R of the composites when exposed to oil. This phenomenon involves both simple geometrical changes and changes in inherent material characteristics such as the specific electrical conductivity (resistivity). An original method for the improvement of the sensors' response rate based on the application of stretched sensing films was developed. Slightly stretched films (by 4% of the original length) showed a response that was 12.5 times faster with respect to oil absorption than an un-stretched film. The specific electrical conductivity of a material strongly depends on the extent to which it is stretched. For a composite filled with 10 wt.% of the filler, it was found that the electrical conductivity remained constant up to 11% of the sample extension before sharply decreasing. It was also found that an increase in the filler content reduced the response rate of the sensors.
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