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Analysis of Important Fabrication Factors That Determine the Sensitivity of MWCNT/Epoxy Composite Strain Sensors
Open AccessArticle

Piezoresistive Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Epoxy Strain Sensor with Pattern Design

by Mun-Young Hwang 1,2,†, Dae-Hyun Han 1,2,† and Lae-Hyong Kang 1,2,3,*
1
Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Jeonbuk National University, 567 Baekje-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si 54896, Korea
2
LANL-JBNU Engineering Institute-Korea, Jeonbuk National University 567 Baekje-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si 54896, Korea
3
Department of Flexible and Printable Electronics, Jeonbuk National University 567 Baekje-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si 54896, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Mun-Young Hwang and Dae-Hyun Han contributed equally to this work.
Materials 2019, 12(23), 3962; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12233962
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 26 November 2019 / Accepted: 28 November 2019 / Published: 29 November 2019
Carbon nanotube/polymer-based composites have led to studies that enable the realization of low-cost, high-sensitivity piezoresistive strain sensors. This study investigated the characteristics of piezoresistive multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/epoxy composite strain sensors subjected to tensile and compressive loads in one direction at relatively small amounts of strain. A patterned sensor was designed to overcome the disadvantage of the load direction sensitivity differences in the existing sensors. The dispersion state of the MWCNTs in the epoxy polymer matrix with the proposed dispersion process was verified by scanning electron microscopy. An MWCNT/epoxy patterned strain sensor and a patch-type strain sensor were directly attached to an acrylic cantilever beam on the opposite side of a commercial metallic strain gauge. The proposed patterned sensor had gauge factors of 2.52 in the tension direction and 2.47 in the compression direction. The measured gauge factor difference for the patterned sensor was less than that for the conventional patch-type sensor. Moreover, the free-vibration frequency response characteristics were compared with those of metal strain gauges to verify the proposed patch-type sensor. The designed drive circuit compensated for the disadvantages due to the high drive voltage, and it was confirmed that the proposed sensor had higher sensitivity than the metallic strain gauge. In addition, the hysteresis of the temperature characteristics of the proposed sensor is presented to show its temperature range. It was verified that the patterned sensor developed through various studies could be applied as a strain sensor for structural health monitoring. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-walled carbon nanotubes; patterned type; polymer-matrix composites; strain sensing; piezoresistivity; structural health multi-walled carbon nanotubes; patterned type; polymer-matrix composites; strain sensing; piezoresistivity; structural health
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Hwang, M.-Y.; Han, D.-H.; Kang, L.-H. Piezoresistive Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Epoxy Strain Sensor with Pattern Design. Materials 2019, 12, 3962.

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