Conductive Recyclable Organogel Composites
As the use of automation in industry accelerates, the development of flexible, electrically conducting materials with the requisite environmental resilience for impact-resistant sensors, foldable electronics, and electrostatic shielding are needed; simultaneously, recyclability for these materials remains a crucial attribute. Traditional conductive stretchable materials, such as rubbers, are not recyclable, and hydrogel materials have limited applications due to water evaporation and operating temperature range. Comparatively, organogels can be formulated with enhanced tunability, matrix recyclability, and the ability to support many conductive fillers. Here, rheology, mechanical testing, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) characterize the nanoscale interactions between carbon fillers, the liquid phase, and the network matrix in hemiaminal dynamic covalent network (HDCN) organogels. HDCN chemical equilibria are shown to strongly influence macroscopic gel properties, while HDCN composites exhibit very high conductivities up to 9.95 mS cm −1 appropriate for sensing applications, demonstrating promise as recyclable alternatives for conductive stretchable materials.