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Novel Resistive Sensor Design Utilizing the Geometric Freedom of Additive Manufacturing

Watschke, Hagen ORCID; Goutier, Marijn ORCID; Heubach, Julius; Vietor, Thomas ORCID; Leichsenring, Kay ORCID; Böl, Markus ORCID

Direct additive manufacturing (AM) of sensors has in recent years become possible, but still remains a largely unexplored area. This work proposes a novel resistive sensor design that utilizes the geometric freedom offered by AM, especially by material extrusion, to enable a customizable and amplified response to force and deformation. This is achieved by using a multi-material design made of an elastomer and an electrically conductive polymer that enables a physical shortening of the conductive path under compressive load through a specific definition of shape. A number of different variants of this novel sensor design are tested, measuring their mechanical and electrical behavior under compression. The results of these tests confirm a strong resistive response to mechanical loading. Furthermore, the results provide insight into the influencing factors of the design, i.e., the gap size between the conductive pathing and the stiffness of the sense element support structure are found to be primary influencing factors governing sensor behavior.

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