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Tubular Sensor with Multi-Axial Strain Sensibility and Heating Capability Based on Bio-Mimic Helical Networks

Li, Yijun; Zhang, Kailin; Nie, Min; Wang, Qi

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2019, vol 58, 49, pp. 22273-22282



Sensors are crucial in industrial robotics and smart production line owing to the basic needs for human–machine communication and real-time monitoring. However, a lack of versatile sensing capability and multifunctionalities are still two urgent bottlenecks for current sensors to break through. In this study, from the biomimic perspective, helical and tubular structures are introduced into the design of polyolefin elastomer/carbon fibers sensors achieved by a large-scale melt-processing featuring helical flow. The helically arranged CF networks could not only reduce the percolation threshold but also detect an external force in the multi-axial direction derived from a simple detach-contact mechanism. With the assistance of computer simulation, unique lateral crushing behaviors were confirmed to be suitable for both large-scale joint motion detection and subtle throat vibration. Moreover, the helical interpenetrating rigid CF networks enabled robust mechanical reliability during more than 5000 operating cycles of lateral crushing as well as self-regulating heating capability. As a proof of concept, antifrost and enhanced transportation for highly viscous liquid medium were also demonstrated which show potential for a hydraulic fluid transportation system. The developed tubular sensor is expected to establish new applications and functionalities to overcome the limitation of current smart devices.

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