Demand for highly compliant mechanical sensors for use in the fields of robotics and wearable electronics has been constantly rising in recent times. Carbon based materials, and especially, carbon nanotubes, have been widely studied as a candidate piezoresistive sensing medium in these devices due to their favorable structural morphology. In this paper three different carbon based materials, namely carbon black, graphene nano-platelets, and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, were utilized as large stretch sensors capable of measuring stretches over 250%. These stretch sensors can be used in robotic hands/arms to determine the angular position of joints. Analysis was also carried out to understand the effect of the morphologies of the carbon particles on the electromechanical response of the sensors. Sensors with gauge factors ranging from one to 1.75 for strain up to 200% were obtained. Among these sensors, the stretch sensors with carbon black/silicone composite were found to have the highest gauge factor while demonstrating acceptable hysteresis in most robotic hand applications. The highly flexible stretch sensors demonstrated in this work show high levels of compliance and conformance making them ideal candidates as sensors for soft robotics.
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