The impact of bending on radiation characteristics of polymer-based flexible antennas for general iot applications

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Applied Sciences (Switzerland)


Flexible wearable wireless devices have found practical uses as their cost has fallen and Internet of Things applications have gained further acceptance. These devices are gaining further use and acceptance in the consumer and wearable space for applications such as logistical tracking and maintaining sensor information, including temperature, humidity, and location. In such applications, antennas are exposed to bending and crumbling. Therefore, flexible substrate antennas for use with polymer-based flexible devices are an important area of research that needs to be addressed. In this study, the bending capabilities of flexible polymer substrate antennas for general IoT applications were practically analyzed by fabricating flexible antennas on Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Teflon, and Polyvinylchloride (PVC) substrates operating at 2.45, 4.45, and 7.25 GHz frequencies. The basic premise was to investigate the flexibility and bending ability of polymer materials, and their tendency to withstand deformation. In the current paper, we start by providing an equivalent model for the flexible microstrip patch antenna under bent conditions, followed by outlining the process of designing flexible antennas on polymer substrates. Finally, the fabricated flexible antennas were tested in an anechoic chamber for various radiation characteristics such as reflection coefficients, operating frequency shifts, and impedance mismatch with the transmission line, under bending conditions up to 7 mm. The practical outcomes were then compared with our recent investigation on flexible polymer substrate antennas for wearable applications. This study provides a means to select a suitable polymer substrate for future wearable sensors and antennas with high bendability.

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