Journal of Materials Research and Technology (May 2022)

Polylactic acid-graphene emulsion ink based conductive cotton fabrics

  • Maedeh Najafi,
  • Muhammad Zahid,
  • Luca Ceseracciu,
  • Milad Safarpour,
  • Athanassia Athanassiou,
  • Ilker S. Bayer

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18
pp. 5197 – 5211


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Manufacturing bio-based and biodegradable materials for electronic applications is a swiftly growing field today. This approach can effectively tackle the future electronic waste problems. However, the preparation of such sustainable materials with high conductivity remains a challenging task. Moreover, in many cases, the use of noxious solvents may be unavoidable. This study shows the feasibility of an aqueous emulsion-based printable conductive ink to be used in the field of flexible electronic devices. The emulsion ink contains polylactic acid (PLA) as a binder and graphene nanoplatelets as a conductive filler. It shows an encouraging electrical conductivity of 34.5 S/m when spray-coated onto a cotton fabric. Moreover, the conductive composite fabrics were very stable in cyclic strain tests, suitable for wearable electronics. A hot pressing post-treatment of the printed composite fabrics improved the electrical conductivity by up to two times. Additionally, the coatings also enhanced the mechanical properties of the cotton fabrics by increasing the Young's modulus values almost twice compared to pristine fabric. This eco-friendly composite ink can be used as strain sensors for transforming certain electronic components into biodegradable versions.