In the recently published ‘An Ultrasensitive 3D Printed Tactile Sensor for Soft Robotics,’ Australian researchers Saeb Mousavi, David Howard, Chun Wang, and Shuying Wu create a new method for production of piezo-resistive tactile sensors for soft robotics, using FDM 3D printing with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and a polylactic acid-graphene (PLA-G) composite.
Fabrication of tactile sensors via 3D printing are receiving increasingly more attention due to the benefits offered—from greater affordability overall to increased speed in production, and the ability to use multiple materials, including graphene. Due to ‘superior surface area’ and high conductivity, graphene shows great promise as a material for tactile sensing. Thermoplastics are accessible and affordable, and easy to print. No post-processing is required, and stronger bonding occurs for embedded networks due to greater hardness in the graphite.
For this study, the researchers used polylactic acidgraphene (PLA-G) conductive polymer composite (CPC) as a piezoresistive sensing material for 3D printing tactile sensors. They 3D printed a stretchable sensor, testing performance by assessing the bending angle and wide pressure range. While the sample the researchers created for this study was basic, it shows promise for the ability to 3D print and use more complex geometries later as the material is sensitive to the differences in pressure and bending.
“The ability to integrate structural and sensing materials into one printed part gives several advantages and bypasses some of the limitations of conventional fabrication methods,” state the researchers. “This sensor can easily be integrated or attached to soft robotic actuators for acquiring tactile information.”
Because PLA is not flexible, they created the PLA-G composite to work as a layer sandwiched between the TPU (here, the research team used Ninjaflex), with no ‘debonding’ noted.
“The sensor was glued at two ends on an aluminum hinge to test its sensitivity to confined bending. During each experiment, the hinge was bended to a certain degree and returned to its original state rapidly,” explained the researchers. “By measuring the initial gauge length and the radius of curvature, the corresponding strain (ε) induced in the sensor for each bending angle was calculated (ε = ΔL/L0), and the gauge factor (GF) was calculated subsequently (GF = (ΔR/R0)/ε).”
The researchers used a load cell to apply contact pressure on the sensor as they evaluated its ability to detect pressure. Three different applied pressures were used during the experiments.
“The thermoplastic filaments facilitate the process, because no curing or post-processing is required. Furthermore, this sensor can be printed or attached on any surface (e.g. on soft actuators) and can give accurate and reliable tactile feedback. The ability to sense contact pressure and bending angle is crucial for a soft actuator and this sensor proved to be a very good candidate to develop such robotic actuators in future,” concluded the researchers.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: ‘An Ultrasensitive 3D Printed Tactile Sensor for Soft Robotics’]
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
Spanish Clothing Company Mango Backs Ziknes 3D Printed Furniture Made with Recycled Materials
With its trendy and affordable designs that resonate globally—and €2.3 in annual revenues—Mango is boldly stepping into the realm of innovation and technology. Through its Mango StartUp Studio accelerator, the...
3D Printing News Briefs, November 30, 2023: Material Database, Bone Scaffolds, & More
We’re starting off with lots of materials news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, from Replique, Asahi Kasei, and Arkema; plus, a team of researchers are 3D printing metals with...
Half of Hyundai’s Singapore Innovation Center Is Run by Robots
Hyundai (KRX: 005380) has just inaugurated the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS), a groundbreaking facility set to transform the landscape of electric vehicle (EV) production. Equipped with AI,...
CELLINK Bioprinter Enables Bioprinted Hair Follicles for Skin Regeneration and More
In a landmark achievement, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have successfully 3D-printed hair follicles in lab-grown human skin tissue, marking a significant advancement in the field of...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.