Tailoring piezoresistive response of carbon nanotubes sensors by hybridization of cellulose nanocrystals for composite structures

Adel Alrai, Ersin Beyhan, Amir Asadi, Elif Ozden-Yenigun, Hulya Cebeci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, the piezoresistive behavior and the underlying sensing mechanism of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) composite strain sensors were studied. Aqueous CNT/CNC inks were developed, characterized, and applied on the surface of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) composites to function as strain sensors. The sensor's behavior and sensitivities at small and large strains depended on the initial composition of CNCs. The sensor with a CNT/CNC composite with composition of 0.8:0.4 (wt%:wt%) had gauge factors of 0.9 and 6.4 at 0.60 % and 1.35 % strains, respectively. At higher composition of 0.8:4.0 (wt%:wt%), gauge factors of 0.5 and 22.2 were calculated for the same strain regions. Through analytical model and morphology analyses, we discussed the influence of CNCs on CNT contact types and on the average tunneling distance between CNTs and the their piezoresistive performance. It was also discussed that CNC particles control the types of contacts between adjacent CNTs. As a result, tailoring piezoresistive behavior was demonstrated. In conclusion, applying a binder-free and environmentally friendly sustainable aqueous ink on a surface of a composite was revealed to be an effective and practical approach for tailored strain sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114633
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


Hulya Cebeci is a faculty member in Department of Aeronautical Engineering Istanbul Technical University. She is a co-founder of Nanomaterials, Textiles, and Advanced Composites Research Group at ITU and her research is supported by several national and international partners from the aerospace industry. Her current research interest focuses on development of high-performance composites, 3D textile preforms, and sensors for smart wearables and aerospace applications. This work was financially supported by Istanbul Technical University Aerospace Research Center . The authors would like to thank Suat Ebil and Yunus Emre Bozkurt for their help carrying out rheology tests. The authors would like to thank Erdem Kilicaslan for his help obtaining scanning electron microscopy images.

FundersFunder number
Istanbul Technical University Aerospace Research Center
International Technological University


    • Carbon nanotube
    • Cellulose nanocrystals
    • Composites
    • Hybridization
    • Piezoresistive


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