STTR Phase I: Co-extruded electroded fiber sensors and actuators
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project seeks to prepare textile fibers containing two metal electrodes embedded in a polymer electrolyte. These fibers will be formed with a multi-crucible pultrusion system. Ion flows within the electrolyte on deformation will cause the fibers to produce a voltage and act as strain sensors. An applied voltage will cause the fibers to deform by bending and work as fiber actuators. The process for such 50-micron scale electrically activated fibers comparable in properties to natural muscle fibers and muscle spindles (strain sensors) will be produced. The broader impact/commercial potential will be the development of sensors that are incorporated into systems in the way that nerves are incorporated into skin. Optical fiber sensors have this potential but their fragility and the complexity of the readout equipment have prevented their widespread use. This project will make available a versatile platform for adding sensing
to soft structures, especially for safety-related applications; and the development of an actuator material that could be readily employed by designers of military, medical, rehabilitative and robotic equipment. The proposed fibers could be woven into textiles, attached to sheet materials or molded into polymers and would permit widespread sensing of stress, environmental variables or chemicals as part of clothing or equipment. Subsequent deployment of these fibers as artificial muscles could have military or medical use. Long-term the societal impact of sensing machines and muscle-like motion will be great. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
EY Technologies/ Division of Pascale Industries, Inc.
1301 Ridgway Rd #1C Pine Bluff, AR 71603
Number of Employees:
University of Massachusetts, Darmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 2747
Nonprofit college or university