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20 April 2010 Electro-active material (EAM) based bend sensors
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The capability to accurately estimate strain and orientation of cables in an undersea environment is important for a multitude of applications. One way to estimate the positional location of a submersed cable is to utilize a network of distributed bend sensors providing inputs to a curve fitting algorithm. In this work commercially available bend sensors are characterized for small deflections. In addition proto-type devices are presented which can potentially improve device sensitivity. Commercially available bend sensors are based upon electro-active materials and variable resistance materials. Electro-active materials (EAM) are known for their actuator functionality but certain EAMs are capable of sensing as well. New advances in materials such as Ionic Polymer Metal Composites (IPMC) are proving suitable for quasi-static sensor applications. These sensors are low power, conformal and produce directionally dependent output voltages which are linearly proportional to deflection, with voltage polarity representative of the deflection direction. IPMCs are capable of being morphed for increased sensitivity. Variable resistivity sensors are based on smart epoxy polymer and carbon loaded inks. These sensors are inexpensive and conformal and unlike EAMs provide static measurements.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Ronald LaComb and Julie LaComb "Electro-active material (EAM) based bend sensors", Proc. SPIE 7678, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring II, 76780T (20 April 2010);

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