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Mechanoelectrical Force Sensors Using Twisted Yarns of Carbon Nanotubes

Publication Type:

Journal Article


IEEE-ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, Volume 16, Number 1, p.90-97 (2011)


Carbon; electromechanical effects; nanotechnology; transducers


Yarns spun by twisting multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) have been
reported. Here, we report the application of these yarns as mechanical
force sensors. When electrochemically charged, the yarns can respond to
a change in the applied tension by generating a change in the cell
current (up to about 1.2 nA/MPa per centimeter length of the yarn) or
the open-circuit potential of the cell (up to 0.013 mV/MPa per
centimeter length of the yarn) corresponding to the applied tension
force. The MWNT yarns are mechanically strong with tensile strengths
reaching 1 GPa. These properties together make them prime candidates for
many applications as fast and efficient sensors. Their sensitivity as
mechanical strain sensors is about 0.5 mu V/micorstrain, which is
comparable to the sensitivity of metal film strain gauge sensors. The
sensitivity is expected to improve by using thicker bundles of yarns.