Effect of the Vertical Pressure on the Electrical Behaviour of the Micro-Copper Polyurethane Composite Films

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Materials with a combination of transparency, electrical conductivity, and flexibility are required in the ‎growing electronic sector. In this research, electrically conductive and flexible films have been prepared. These ‎composite films consist of dispersing micro-copper particles into polyurethane (PU) matrix. Two sets of samples were ‎made using both spin coating technique (sample thickness lower than 30 μm) and materials casting (sample thickness ‎lower than 100 μm). Copper concentrations in the PU matrix varied from 0.5 to 20% by volume. The dispersion of ‎micro-copper particles into polyurethane (PU) matrix were characterised using optical microscope and scanning electron ‎microscope. The electrical conductivity measurement was carried out using home-made multimeter set up under ‎pressures from 1 to 20 kPa through thickness and in plane direction. It seems that samples made by casting were not ‎conductive. However, the sample made by spin coating shows through-thickness conductivity when they are under ‎pressure. The results showed that spin-coated films with higher concentration of 2 vol. % of copper displayed a ‎significant increase in the conductivity value, known as percolation threshold. The maximum conductivity of 7.2 × 10-1 ‎S∙m-1 was reached at concentrations of filler with 20 vol. % at 20kPa. A semi-empirical model with adjustable ‎coefficients was used to fit and predict the electrical behaviour of composites. For the first time, the finite element ‎method based on the representative volume element (FE-RVE) was successfully used to predict their electrical ‎behaviour under applied pressures. ‎

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