Bioinspired, Mechanically Robust Chemiresistor for Inline Volatile Organic Compounds Sensing

Weiheng Xu, Dharneedar Ravichandran, Sayli Jambhulkar, Rahul Franklin, Yuxiang Zhu, Kenan Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


There are advantages to polymer/nanoparticle composite-based volatile organic compounds (VOCs) sensors, such as high chemical and physical stability, operability under extreme conditions, flexible use in manufacturing, and low cost. Nevertheless, their lower limit of detection due to thickness-dependent diffusion has constrained their application. Inspired by the metaxylem in vascular plants and its vertical conduits and horizontal pits that enable efficient transpiration, a polymer/nanoparticle composite-based sensor is fabricated with a controllable, spontaneously formed, hollow core for inline VOCs transportation, and porous microstructure for radial direction diffusion. The hollow core is surrounded by an inner porous layer (thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)), a middle sensing layer (TPU/graphene nanoplatelets/multiwalled carbon nanotubes), and an outer mechanically durable layer (TPU). This multilayered structure shows a 600% higher response rate compared to a single-layered composite fiber sensor, with a low limit of detection (e.g., ≈15 ppm for xylene) and high selectivity based on the Flory–Huggins interaction parameter. This flexible and stretchable sensor also demonstrates a dual parameter sensing capability from VOC concentrations and uniaxial strain deformation. Via a one-step fiber spinning procedure, this self-induced hollow fiber offers a unique method of microstructural design, which enables the detection of low-concentration VOCs by polymer/nanoparticle-based sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000440
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • carbon nanotubes
  • hollow fiber
  • multilayer
  • polymer nanocomposites
  • stretchable chemiresistors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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