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Proceedings Paper

A self-sensing structure with printed sensors
Author(s): Bradley Thompson; Hwan-Sik Yoon
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Paper Abstract

Recently, printed electronics have received growing attention as a new method to produce low-cost large-area electronics on flexible substrates. Much of the current research relies mainly on an inkjet printing technique to deposit electrically functional material solutions onto plastic substrates in order to fabricate various electronic components such as resistors, capacitors and transistors. In this paper, we propose to apply the printed electronics technology to the development of strain sensors for the purpose of measuring structural vibration. To accomplish this, we have developed an aerosol printing system that exhibits better performance in printing on various types of substrates. The system consists of a moving platform, an ultrasonic atomizer, and a shutter to control the flow of the aerosol. Using the system, we demonstrate that a functional strain sensor can be printed directly on the surface of a nonmetallic structure. To form a strain sensor, a water-based conductive polymer, PEDOT-PSS, was deposited on a plastic substrate using the aerosol printer. Then, the piezoresistive response of the printed strain sensor was measured for three different low frequency dynamic strain loadings. The results showed that this type of printed strain sensor can be used to measure the vibration of the host structure. The result of this research will serve as a critical step toward the fabrication of self-sensing structures with printed sensors and accompanying electronics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 2011
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7981, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2011, 79814H (15 April 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.881884
Show Author Affiliations
Bradley Thompson, Tennessee Technological Univ. (United States)
Hwan-Sik Yoon, Tennessee Technological Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7981:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2011
Masayoshi Tomizuka, Editor(s)

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