Novel graphene foam composite with adjustable sensitivity for sensor applications

Yarjan Abdul Samad, Yuanqing Li, Saeed M. Alhassan, Kin Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


In this study, free-standing graphene foam (GF) was developed by a three-step method: (1) vacuum-assisted dip-coating of nickel foam (Ni-F) with graphene oxide (GO), (2) reduction of GO to reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and then (3) etching out the nickel scaffold. Pure GF samples were tested for their morphology, chemistry, and mechanical integrity. GF mimics the microstructure of Ni-F while individual bones of GF were hollow, because of the complete removal of nickel. The GF-PDMS composites were tested for their ability to sense both compressive and bending strains in the form of change in electrical resistance. The composite showed different sensitivity to bending and compression. Upon applying a 30% compressive strain on the GF-PDMS composite, its resistance increased to 120% of its original value. Similarly, bending a sample to a radius of 1 mm caused the composite to change its resistance to 52% of its original resistance value. The relative change in resistance of the composite by an applied pressure/strain can be tuned to considerably different values by heat-treating the GF at different temperatures prior to infusing PDMS into its scaffold. Upon heat treating the GF at 800 °C prior to PDMS infusion, the GF-PDMS demonstrated 10 times better sensitivity than the untreated sample for a compressive strain of 20%. The composite was also tested for its ability to retain a change in electrical resistance when a brief load/strain is applied. The GF-PDMS composite was tested for at least 500 cycles under compressive cyclic loading and showed good electromechanical durability. Finally, it was demonstrated that the composite can be used to measure human blood pressure when attached to human skin.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)9196-9202
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number17
StatePublished - 6 May 2015


  • graphene foam
  • graphene oxide
  • piezoresistivity
  • reduced graphene oxide
  • tunable piezoresistivity


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