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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2015 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Sensors

    Resistive Sensors

    This post documents a series of experiments using Eeonyx coated fabrics (called Eeontex) to create various fabric sensors. Eeontex fabrics are electrically conductive and can be coated to produce different resistances. Applications for Eeontex fabrics include electrostatic dissipation (ESD), microwave/radar absorption, resistive and microwave heating, but they can also be used to do a variety of resistive/piezoresistive sensing. THe electrical resistance of Eeontex fabrics changes both across distance and when strain is applied to the material in the form of pressure of stretch.

    Links:

    EEonyx >> http://eeonyx.com/
    Code for examples on GitHub >> https://github.com/plusea/CODE/tree/master/EXAMPLE%20CODE/Resistive%20Sensors

    We have examined the following Eeontex fabrics:

    Non-woven, non-stretch fabrics:
    NW170-SLPA-2K
    NW170SQ-SLPA-50K
    NW170SQ-SLPA-100K

    Stretch fabrics:
    LTT-SLPA-2K
    LTT-SLPA-20K
    LTT-SLPA-60K
    LTT-SLPA-100K
    LG-SLPA-100K

    For later:
    Non-woven, non-stretch: NW170-PI-20 (heater)
    Twill: TMD-PI-36 (heater)

    To construct the following types of sensors:

    – Contact switch
    – Location/Position (1D – along a line, 2D – across a surface)
    – Pressure
    – Stretch
    – Bend (through pressure, through stretch)

    Resistive sensors

    To combine the above constructions to build combination sensors for:

    – Location & Pressure
    – Stretch & Pressure
    – Stretch & Location

    Resistive sensors

    Eeontex coated fabrics

    “EeonTex conductive textiles are unique materials made using a proprietary coating technology* developed by a leading textile company. Individual fibers within a fabric or yarn are completely and uniformly coated with doped polypyrrole (PPY), an inherently conducting polymer. Almost all fabrics – woven, knitted, and nonwoven – and textured and spun yarns – synthetic or natural – can be coated using the aqueous process. Typical substrates include polyester, nylon, glass, and Kevlar. While imparting electrical conductivity and a dark color to the substrates, the coating process barely affects the strength, drape, flexibility, and porosity of the starting substrates. Fabrics are tailor – made for desired resistance, thickness , porosity, surface area, flame – resistance, etc…” (taken from this PDF >> http://www.marktek-inc.com/doc/EeonTexTDSF1.pdf)


    OVERVIEW CHART

    Overview: Resistive/Piezoresistive Fabric Sensors


    Contact switch


    Location/Position

    1D – Along a Line

    2D – Across a Surface


    Pressure

    Through the Material


    Across the Material


    Bend



    Stretchy Pressure Sensors



    Stretch

    Before looking at the resistive properties of the knit Eeontex fabrics, lets look at the knit structure of fabric to better understand how changes in electrical resistance and repeatability of stretch might also be affected by the fabric properties.

    Front and back of knit fabric:
    Knit fabricKnit fabric

    Knit fabric is produced by pulling a single thread through loops. When knit by hand this is generally done with two knitting needles and a row of loops on one needle is transferred to the other needle one by one and each time a further loop of yarn/thread is pulled through the loop being transferred. When knit by machine this is generally done on a bed of needles where each loop has it’s own needle and every time the carriage passed over the bed of needles it adds one loop to the loop on each needle. For much better explanations, see here:
    Hand-knitting >>
    Flat-bed machine knitting >>

    Due to this knitting process the resulting fabric has different properties in it’s two directions:
    – The course direction
    – The wale direction

    The Eeontex knit fabrics are very finely knit fabrics and it can be very hard to see the directions by looking at it closely. The following images show a non-conductive white knit fabric up close to better see the texture/structure of the from and back of a knit fabric.

    Knit fabric: course and wale directionsKnit fabric: course and wale directionsKnit fabric: course and wale directions

    For repeatability of stretch and to better maintain the structure of the fabric, I find it best to design the sensor such that stretch happens in the COURSE direction of the fabric. Stretching the fabric in the WALE direction causes the yarn/thread to stretch and change the size of the loops from which it does not recover as easily.

    Stretch in COURSE direction:
    Course direction stretch

    Stretch in WALE direction:
    Wale direction stretch

    Stretch in COURSE direction (LTT-SLPA-20K): 600K – 150K Ohm [350K Ohm]
    LTT-SLPA-20K course direction (relaxed)LTT-SLPA-20K  course direction (stretched)

    Stretch in WALE direction (LTT-SLPA-20K): 1.2M – 500K Ohm [700K Ohm]
    LTT-SLPA-20K wale direction (relaxed)LTT-SLPA-20K  wale direction (stretched)

    Even though the range of resistance change is bigger in the wale direction, the fabric “stretches-out” over time with repeat stretching.

    Single Direction

    Multiple Directions


    Bend

    Via Pressure

    Via Stretch



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