Conducting core-sheath nanofibres were prepared by the vapour-phase polymerisation of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxy thiophene) (PEDOT) on electrospun polyurethane (PU) nanofibres both with and without incorporating graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) as the core part. The morphology, mechanical properties, electrical conductivity, and electroactive actuation of the core-sheath nanofibres were investigated. The thickness of the PEDOT-coated layer and the electrical conductivity of the nanofibre webs were controlled by varying polymerisation time. The incorporation of GNPs in the nanofibres significantly increased the breaking stress and modulus, as well as the conductivity of the nanofibres. It was found that the core-sheath PU-PEDOT nanofibre webs were the most effective for enhancing the displacement of a conducting polymer actuator, whereas the GNP-incorporating PU-PEDOT nanofibre webs showed reduced actuator displacement because of a high modulus.
Keywords: conducting polymer, core-sheath nanofibre, actuator, graphene nanoplatelet