Fabrication and Experimental Characterization of a 3D-printed, Anisotropic Strain Sensor

BSc assignment

Focus: mainly experimental

Background: Over the past few years studies of 3D-printed strain sensors have taken a big flight. 3D-printed strain sensors have already successfully been demonstrated in biomedical, control and soft robotics applications. One thing that remains challenging, however, is to make reliable sensors with high sensitivity. The sensitivity of a standard strain sensor is limited by the piezoresistivity of the material. The promising approach by Mousavi et al. circumvents this by using the anisotropic printing method with the contact resistance between the printed lines to obtain large resistance changes of the 3D-printed sensor under strain in a specific direction (Mousavi et al., Direct 3D Printing of Highly Anisotropic, Flexible, Constriction-Resistive Sensors for Multidirectional Proprioception in Soft Robots, 2020).

One limitation of their method, however, is the relatively low sensitivity for small strains. By making use of the voltage read-out that we developed in our earlier work, we expect to also obtain a high sensitivity for small strains.

Goal: The goal of this BSc assignment is to test a new measurement method for the constriction-resistive sensors of Mousavi et al. and to compare them to the current resistive read-out method. The student is asked to:

  • Study the basics of 3d-printed sensors in literature
  • Explore and model designs for these sensors based on existing literature
  • Manufacture sensors using 3D-printing
  • Experimentally test the performance of the sensor designs for the different read-out methods