Flexible thick-film electrochemical sensors: Impact of mechanical bending and stress on the electrochemical behavior

Jiaying Cai, Karel Cizek, Brenton Long, Kenyon McAferty, Casey G. Campbell, David Allee, Bryan D. Vogt, Jeffrey LaBelle, Joseph Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The influence of the mechanical bending, rolling and crimping of flexible screen-printed electrodes upon their electrical properties and electrochemical behavior has been elucidated. Three different flexible plastic substrates, Mylar, polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), and Kapton, have been tested in connection to the printing of graphite ink working electrodes. Our data indicate that flexible printed electrodes can be bent to extremely small radii of curvature and still function well, despite a marginal increase the electrical resistance. Below critical radii of curvature of ∼8 mm, full recovery of the electrical resistance occurs upon strain release. The electrochemical response is maintained for sub-mm bending radii and a 180° pinch of the electrode does not lead to device failure. The electrodes appear to be resistant to repeated bending. Such capabilities are demonstrated using model compounds, including ferrocyanide, trinitrotoluene (TNT) and nitronaphthalene (NN). These printed electrodes hold great promise for widespread applications requiring flexible, yet robust non-planar sensing devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 28 2009


  • Electrodes
  • Flexible substrates
  • Mechanical bending
  • Screen-printing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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