STTR Phase I: Co-extruded electroded fiber sensors and actuators

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0930437
Agency Tracking Number: 0930437
Amount: $149,900.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: MM
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Small Business Information
1301 Ridgway Rd #1C, Pine Bluff, AR, 71603
DUNS: 839103348
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Rathna Perera
 (508) 673-3307
Business Contact
 Rathna Perera
Title: DEng
Phone: (508) 673-3307
Research Institution
 University of Massachusetts, Darmouth
 Paul Calvert
 285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA, 2747
 (508) 999-8355
 Nonprofit college or university
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).

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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