In this paper the behavior of conjugated polymers as mechanical sensors is experimentally characterized and modeled. A trilayer conjugated polymer sensor is considered, where two polypyrrole (PPy) layers sandwich an amorphous polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) layer, with the latter serving as an electrolyte tank. A theory for the sensing mechanism is proposed by postulating that, through its influence on the pore structure, mechanical deformation correlates directly to the concentration of ions at the PPy/PVDF interface. This provides a key boundary condition for the partial differential equation (PDE) governing the ion diffusion and migration dynamics. By ignoring the migration term in the PDE, an analytical model is obtained in the form of a transfer function that relates the open-circuit sensing voltage to the mechanical input. The model is validated in experiments using dynamic mechanical stimuli up to 50 Hz.
Fang, Y., Tan, X., Temme, A. Alici, G. (2008). Characterization and modeling of conjugated polymer sensors. 15th International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials, and Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring. In Y. Bar-Cohen, Proceedings of Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2008 (pp. 692709-1-692709-9). Bellingham, Washington: SPIE.