Knitted strain sensor textiles of highly conductive all-polymeric fibers
A scaled-up fiber wet-spinning production of electrically conductive and highly stretchable PU/PEDOT:PSS fibers is demonstrated for the first time. The PU/PEDOT:PSS fibers possess the mechanical properties appropriate for knitting various textile structures. The knitted textiles exhibit strain sensing properties that were dependent upon the number of PU/PEDOT:PSS fibers used in knitting. The knitted textiles show sensitivity (as measured by the gauge factor) that increases with the number of PU/PEDOT:PSS fibers deployed. A highly stable sensor response was observed when four PU/PEDOT:PSS fibers were co-knitted with a commercial Spandex yarn. The knitted textile sensor can distinguish different magnitudes of applied strain with cyclically repeatable sensor responses at applied strains of up to 160%. When used in conjunction with a commercial wireless transmitter, the knitted textile responded well to the magnitude of bending deformations, demonstrating potential for remote strain sensing applications. The feasibility of an all-polymeric knitted textile wearable strain sensor was demonstrated in a knee sleeve prototype with application in personal training and rehabilitation following injury.