Sensorized Robotic Skin Based on Piezoresistive Sensor Fiber Composites Produced with Injection Molding of Liquid Silicone

Antonia Georgopoulou , Silvain Michel, Frank Clemens

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Abstract

Soft robotics and flexible electronics are rising in popularity and can be used in many applications. However, there is still a need for processing routes that allow the upscaling in production for functional soft robotic parts in an industrial scale. In this study, injection molding of liquid silicone is suggested as a fabrication method for sensorized robotic skin based on sensor fiber composites. Sensor fibers based on thermoplastic elastomers with two different shore hardness (50A and 70A) are combined with different silicone materials. A mathematical model is used to predict the mechanical load transfer from the silicone matrix to the fiber and shows that the matrix of the lowest shore hardness should not be combined with the stiffer fiber. The sensor fiber composites are fixed on a 3D printed robotic finger. The sensorized robotic skin based on the composite with the 50A fiber in combination with pre-straining gives good sensor performance as well as a large elasticity. It is proposed that a miss-match in the mechanical properties between fiber sensor and matrix should be avoided in order to achieve low drift and relaxation. These findings can be used as guidelines for material selection for future sensor integrated soft robotic systems
Original languageEnglish
Article number1226
Number of pages16
JournalPolymers (Basel)
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • injection molding
  • fiber composites
  • electronic skin
  • stretchable electronics

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