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Sensors 2008, 8(7), 4318-4329; doi:10.3390/s8074318

Textile Pressure Sensor Made of Flexible Plastic Optical Fibers

1,* , 1 and 2
Received: 2 July 2008 / Revised: 23 July 2008 / Accepted: 23 July 2008 / Published: 25 July 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Switzerland)
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In this paper we report the successful development of pressure sensitive textile prototypes based on flexible optical fibers technology. Our approach is based on thermoplastic silicone fibers, which can be integrated into woven textiles. As soon as pressure at a certain area of the textile is applied to these fibers they change their cross section reversibly, due to their elastomeric character, and a simultaneous change in transmitted light intensity can be detected. We have successfully manufactured two different woven samples with fibers of 0.51 and 0.98 mm diameter in warp and weft direction, forming a pressure sensitive matrix. Determining their physical behavior when a force is applied shows that pressure measurements are feasible. Their usable working range is between 0 and 30 N. Small drifts in the range of 0.2 to 4.6%, over 25 load cycles, could be measured. Finally, a sensor array of 2 x 2 optical fibers was tested for sensitivity, spatial resolution and light coupling between fibers at intersections.
Keywords: thermoplastic silicone; weaving; sensor array; light coupling between fibers thermoplastic silicone; weaving; sensor array; light coupling between fibers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rothmaier, M.; Luong, M.P.; Clemens, F. Textile Pressure Sensor Made of Flexible Plastic Optical Fibers. Sensors 2008, 8, 4318-4329.

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