Graphene-Polyurethane Coatings for Deformable Conductors and Electromagnetic Interference Shielding

Pietro Cataldi, Dimitrios Papageorgiou, Gergo Pinter, Andrey Kretinin, William Sampson, Robert Young, Mark Bissett, Ian Kinloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrically conductive, polymeric materials that maintain their conductivity even when under significant mechanical deformation are needed for actuator electrodes, conformable electromagnetic shielding, stretchable tactile sensors, and flexible energy storage. The challenge for these materials is that the percolated, electrically conductive networks tend to separate even at low strains, leading to significant piezoresistance. Herein, deformable conductors are fabricated by spray-coating a nitrile substrate with a graphene–elastomer solution. The electrical resistance of the coatings shows a decrease after thousands of bending cycles and a slight increase after repeated folding-unfolding events. The deformable conductors double their electrical resistance at 12% strain and are washable without changing their electrical properties. The conductivity–strain behavior is modeled by considering the nanofiller separation upon deformation. To boost the conductivity at higher strains, the production process is adapted by stretching the nitrile substrate before spraying, after which it is released. This adaption meant that the electrical resistance doubles at 25% strain. The electrical resistance is found sufficiently low to give a 1.9 dB µm −1 shielding in the 8–12 GHz electromagnetic band. The physical and electrical properties, including the electro magnetic screening, of the flexible conductors, are found to deteriorate upon cycling but can be recovered through reheating the coating.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000429
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Issue number9
Early online date16 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • conformable electronics
  • healable electronics
  • piezoresistivity
  • stretchable electronics
  • thermoplastic polyurethane


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