Tunable Piezoelectricity of Multifunctional Boron Nitride Nanotube/Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Stretchable Composites

Peter Snapp, Chullhee Cho, Dongwon Lee, Md Farhadul Haque, Sung Woo Nam, Cheol Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT) uniformly dispersed in stretchable materials, such as poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), could create the next generation of composites with augmented mechanical, thermal, and piezoelectric characteristics. This work reports tunable piezoelectricity of multifunctional BNNT/PDMS stretchable composites prepared via co-solvent blending with tetrahydrofuran (THF) to disperse BNNTs in PDMS while avoiding sonication or functionalization. The resultant stretchable BNNT/PDMS composites demonstrate augmented Young's modulus (200% increase at 9 wt% BNNT) and thermal conductivity (120% increase at 9 wt% BNNT) without losing stretchability. Furthermore, BNNT/PDMS composites demonstrate piezoelectric responses that are linearly proportional to BNNT wt%, achieving a piezoelectric constant (|d33|) of 18 pmV−1 at 9 wt% BNNT without poling, which is competitive with commercial piezoelectric polymers. Uniquely, BNNT/PDMS accommodates tensile strains up to 60% without plastic deformation by aligning BNNTs, which enhances the composites’ piezoelectric response approximately five times. Finally, the combined stretchable and piezoelectric nature of the composite was exploited to produce a vibration sensor sensitive to low-frequency (≈1 kHz) excitation. This is the first demonstration of multifunctional, stretchable BNNT/PDMS composites with enhanced mechanical strength and thermal conductivity and furthermore tunable piezoelectric response by varying BNNT wt% and applied strain, permitting applications in soft actuators and vibration sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2004607
JournalAdvanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.)
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • boron nitride nanotubes
  • composites
  • multifunctional materials
  • piezoelectricity
  • poly(dimethylsiloxane)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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