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31 March 2009 Environmental exposure tracking sensor
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Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG) has developed environmental exposure tracking (EET) sensors using shape memory polymer (SMP) to monitor the degradation of perishable items, such as munitions, medicines or foods, by measuring the cumulative exposure to temperature and moisture. SMPs are polymers whose qualities have been altered to give them dynamic shape "memory" properties. Under thermal or moisture stimuli, SMP exhibits a radical change from a rigid thermoset to a highly flexible, elastic state. The dynamic response of the SMP can be tailored to match the degradation profile of the perishable item. SMP-based EET sensors require no digital memory or internal power supply and provide the capability of inexpensive, long-term life cycle monitoring thermal and moisture exposure over time. In a Phase I and II SBIR effort with the Navy, CRG demonstrated the feasibility of SMP-based EET sensor with two material systems. These material systems required different activation stimuli, heat or water vapor pressure. CRG developed the ability to tailor these materials to customize the dynamic response to match various degradation profiles of munitions. CRG optimized and characterized the SMP formulations and sensor design configuration to develop a suite of data from which any degradation profile can be met. CRG's EET sensors are capable of monitoring temperatures from -30 °C to 260 °C. The prototypes monitor cumulative thermal exposure and provide real-time information in a visually readable or a remotely interrogated version. CRG is currently scaling up the manufacture of the sensors for munitions reliability applications with the Navy.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Teresa Havens, Joel Everhart, and Jace McFerran "Environmental exposure tracking sensor", Proc. SPIE 7290, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2009, 72900P (31 March 2009);

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