Design and Characterization of Conductive Biopolymer Nanocomposite Electrodes for Medical Applications


Article Preview

Metal-based electrodes, despite being the most widely used for biomedical applications, are limited by a poor reliable skin-surface interface and patients suffer from comfort issues. The most common problems/inconveniences are caused by stiff electrodes, skin irritation, allergic reaction or corrosion. In order to overcome these problems, we produced and tested flexible electrodes involving biopolymer nanocomposite materials. Conductive polymers have been intensively studied and applied in the field of organic photovoltaics and flexible organic electronics. Recently, the use of conductive biopolymer nanocomposite has also emerged as an interesting and promising material for biomedical applications. In this study, we have designed and characterized electrodes made of a flexible and conductive nanocomposite material using a biocompatible and biodegradable polymeric matrix of poly (3-hydroxyalkanoate) (PHA, in particular poly (3-hydroxybutyrate), PHB) containing conductive nanowires. The biopolymer nanocomposites and their electrical conductivities were investigated by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electrical four-point probing. The electrical conductivities obtained in the different PHA-polymer nanocomposites containing different concentrations of conductive additives is discussed in relation to the nanocomposite structure at the microscopic level. Finally, our developed biopolymer nanocomposite prototype electrodes have successfully been tested for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and electrocardiography ECG applications in comparison to conventional electrodes.



Main Theme:

Edited by:

C. Sommitsch, M. Ionescu, B. Mishra, E. Kozeschnik and T. Chandra




C. Tematio et al., "Design and Characterization of Conductive Biopolymer Nanocomposite Electrodes for Medical Applications", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 879, pp. 1921-1926, 2017

Online since:

November 2016




* - Corresponding Author

[1] G.Q. Chen and Q. Wu, The application of polyhydroxyalkanoates as tissue engineering materials, Biomaterials 26 (2005) 6565–6578.


[2] K. Sudesh, H. Abe, and Y. Doi, Synthesis, structure and properties of polyhydroxyalkanoates: biological polyesters. Prog. Polym. Sci. 25 (2000) 1503-1555.


[3] P. L. B. Araujo, C. R. P. C. Ferreira, and E. S. Araujo, Biodegradable conductive composites of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and polyaniline nanofibers: Preparation, characterization and radiolytic effects, eXPRESS Polymer Letters 5 (2011) 12-22.


[4] Hong Lu, Samy A. Madbouly, James A. Schrader, Micheal R. Kessler, David Grewell, and William R. Graves. Novel bio-based composites of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)/distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), RSC Adv. 4 (2014) 39802.


[5] Thibault Gerard and Tatiana Budtova, Morphology and molten-state rheology of polylactide and polyhydroxyalkanoate blends, Eur. Polym. J. 48 (2012) 1110-1117.


[6] Mònica Bassas-Galià, Adolfo Gonzalez, Fabrice Micaux, Vanessa Gaillard, Umberto Piantini, Silvia Schintke, Manfred Zinn, and Marc Mathieu, Chemical Modification of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) for the Preparation of Hybrid Biomaterials, Chimia 69 (2015).


[7] Mega Soft Patient Return Electrode for use during monopolar electrosurgery. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2012. NICE medical technology guidance [MTG11], ISBN 978-1-4731-1177-6, https: /www. nice. org. uk/guidance/mtg11.

[8] Shengzhe Yang, Samy A. Madbouly, James A. Schrader, David Grewell, Michael R. Kessler, and William R. Graves, Processing and characterization of bio-based poly (hydroxyalkanoate)/poly(amide) blends: Improved flexibility and impact resistance of PHA-based plastics, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 132, (2015).


[9] S. Philip, T. Keshavarz, and I. Roy, Polyhydroxyalkanoates: biodegradable polymers with a range of applications, J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol. 82 (2007) 233–247.


[10] M. Zinn, H. -U. Weilenmann, R. Hany, M. Schmid, and Th. Egli, Tailored synthesis of poly([R]-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHB/HV) in Ralstonia eutropha DSM 428, Acta Biotechnol. 23 (2003) 309-316.


[11] Dieter K. Schroder, Semiconductor material and device characterization. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2006, ISBN 978-0-471-73906-7.