This study presents the design and fabrication of a flexible tactile sensor printed on a cellulose paper substrate using a carbon black (CB) – filled polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) polymer matrix as ink material. In the design, electrodes are obtained by screen printing of CB/PVA composite on dielectric cellulose paper. The screen-printing method is preferred for fabrication because of its simplicity and low manufacturing cost. The tactile sensor is formed by overlapping two ink-printed sheets. Electrical properties are investigated under compressive and tensile strains. The results indicate that the tactile sensor configuration and materials can be used for piezoresistive, capacitive, and also impedance sensors. The same tactile sensor structure is also examined using a commercial carbon-based ink for performance comparison. The comparative study indicates that CB/PVA ink screen-printed on paper demonstrates superior sensitivity for capacitive sensing with low hysteresis, as well as low response and recovery times. The piezoresistive-sensing properties of CB/PVA on cellulose paper show a gauge factor (GF) of 10.68, which is also very promising when conventional metal strain gauges are considered. CB/PVA screen-printed on cellulose paper features impedance-sensing properties and is also sensitive to the measurement frequency. Therefore, the response type of the sensor can be altered with the frequency.
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