The ability to produce distributed sensors by tailoring materials readily available on the market is becoming an emerging strategy for Internet of Things applications. Embedding sensors into functional substrates allows one to reduce costs and improve integration and gives unique functionalities inaccessible to silicon or other conventional materials used in microelectronics. In this paper, we demonstrate the functionalization of a commercial polyurethane (PU) foam with the conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS: the resulting material is a modified all-polymeric foam where the internal network of pores is uniformly coated with a continuous layer of PEDOT:PSS acting as a mechanical transducer. When an external force causes a modification of the foam microstructure, the conductivity of the device varies accordingly, enabling the conversion of a mechanical pressure into an electric signal. The sensor provides a nearly linear response when stimulated by an external pressure in the range between 0.1 and 20 kPa. Frequency-dependent measurements show a useful frequency range up to 20 Hz. A simple micromechanical model has been proposed to predict the device performance based on the characteristics of the system, including geometrical constrains, the microstructure of the polymeric foam, and its elastic modulus. By taking advantage of the simulation output, a flexible shoe in sole prototype has been developed by embedding eight pressure sensors into a commercial PU foam. The proposed device may provide critical information to medical teams, such as the real-time bodyweight distribution and a detailed representation of the walking dynamic.

All-Polymeric Pressure Sensors Based on PEDOT:PSS-Modified Polyurethane Foam

Bruno L.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The ability to produce distributed sensors by tailoring materials readily available on the market is becoming an emerging strategy for Internet of Things applications. Embedding sensors into functional substrates allows one to reduce costs and improve integration and gives unique functionalities inaccessible to silicon or other conventional materials used in microelectronics. In this paper, we demonstrate the functionalization of a commercial polyurethane (PU) foam with the conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS: the resulting material is a modified all-polymeric foam where the internal network of pores is uniformly coated with a continuous layer of PEDOT:PSS acting as a mechanical transducer. When an external force causes a modification of the foam microstructure, the conductivity of the device varies accordingly, enabling the conversion of a mechanical pressure into an electric signal. The sensor provides a nearly linear response when stimulated by an external pressure in the range between 0.1 and 20 kPa. Frequency-dependent measurements show a useful frequency range up to 20 Hz. A simple micromechanical model has been proposed to predict the device performance based on the characteristics of the system, including geometrical constrains, the microstructure of the polymeric foam, and its elastic modulus. By taking advantage of the simulation output, a flexible shoe in sole prototype has been developed by embedding eight pressure sensors into a commercial PU foam. The proposed device may provide critical information to medical teams, such as the real-time bodyweight distribution and a detailed representation of the walking dynamic.
2021
active orthopedic insole
conductive sponge
PEDOT:PSS
polymeric pressure sensor
postural monitoring
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/327034
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