Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) have inherent underwater sensing and actuation properties. They can be used as sensors to collect ﬂow information. Inspired by the hair-cell mediated receptor in the lateral line system of ﬁsh, the impact of a ﬂexible, cupula-like structure on the performance of IPMC ﬂow sensors is experimentally explored. The fabrication method to create a silicone-capped IPMC sensor is reported. Experiments are conducted to compare the sensing performance of the IPMC ﬂow sensor before and after the PDMS coating under the periodic ﬂow stimulus generated by a dipole source in still water and the laminar ﬂow stimulus generated in a ﬂow tank. Experimental results show that the performance of IPMC ﬂow sensors is signiﬁcantly improved under the stimulus of both periodic ﬂow and laminar ﬂow by the proposed silicone-capping.
Hong Lei, Montassar Aidi Sharif, Derek A. Paley, Matthew J. McHenry, and Xiaobo Tan, "Performance improvement of IPMC flow sensors with a biologically-inspired cupula structure," Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 979827 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 24, 2016; Published: 18 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2219574.
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