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Proceedings Paper

Galfenol tactile sensor array and visual mapping system
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Paper Abstract

The smart material, Galfenol, is being explored for its uses as a magnetostrictive material. This project seeks to determine if Galfenol can be used as a tactile sensor in a 2-D grid array, magnetic circuit system. When used within a magnetic circuit, Galfenol indicates induced stress and force as a change in flux, due to a change in permeability of the material. The change in flux is detected by Giant MagnetoResistive (GMR) Sensors, which produce a voltage change proportional to the field change. By using Galfenol in an array, this research attempts to create a sensory area. Galfenol is an alloy made of Iron and Gallium. Fe100-xGax, where 15 ≤ x ≤ 28, creates a material with useful mechanical and transduction attributes (Clark et al. and Kellogg). Galfenol is also distinguished by the crystalline structure of the material. Two types currently exist: single crystal and polycrystalline. Single crystal has higher transduction coefficients than polycrystalline, but is more costly. Polycrystalline Galfenol is currently available as either production or research grade. The designations are related to the sample growth rate with the slower rate being the research grade. The slower growth rate more closely resembles the single crystal Galfenol properties. Galfenol 17.5-18% research grade is used for this experiment, provided by Etrema Products Inc. The magnetic circuit and sensor array is first built at the macro scale so that the design can be verified. After the macro scale is proven, further development will move the system to the nano-level. Recent advances in nanofabrication have enabled Galfenol to be grown as nanowires. Using the nanowires, research will seek to create high resolution tactile sensors with spatial resolutions similar to human finger tips, but with greater force ranges and sensitivity capabilities (Flatau & Stadler). Possible uses of such systems include robotics and prosthetics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 April 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6173, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, 61730Y (5 April 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.660132
Show Author Affiliations
Kathleen Hale, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Alison Flatau, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6173:
Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems
Yuji Matsuzaki, Editor(s)

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