Influence of Coalescence on the Anisotropic Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Nickel Powder/Polydimethylsiloxane Composites.
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Multifunctional polymer-based composites have been widely used in various research and industrial applications, such as flexible and stretchable electronics and sensors and sensor-integrated smart structures. This study investigates the influence of particle coalescence on the mechanical and electrical properties of spherical nickel powder (SNP)/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) composites in which SNP was aligned using an external magnetic field. With the increase of the volume fraction of the SNP, the aligned SNP/PDMS composites exhibited a higher tensile strength and a lower ultimate strain. In addition, the composites with aligned SNP showed a lower percolation threshold and a higher electrical conductivity compared with those with randomly dispersed SNP. However, when the concentration of the SNP reached a certain level (40 vol. %), the anisotropy of the effective material property became less noticeable than that of the lower concentration (20 vol. %) composites due to the change of the microstructure of the particles caused by the coalescence of the particles at a high concentration. This work may provide rational methods for the fabrication of aligned composites.
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