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Embedded wireless strain sensors based on printed RFID tag

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to develop a wireless strain sensor for measuring large strains. The sensor is based on passive ultra high-frequency radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and it can be embedded into a variety of structures. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Silver ink conductors and RFID tags were printed by the screen printing method on stretchable polyvinyl chloride and fabric substrates. The development of the strain-sensitive RFID tag was based on the behavior of the selected antenna and substrate materials. Performance of the tags and the effect of mechanical strain on tag functioning were examined. Findings ‐ The results showed that large displacements can be successfully measured wirelessly using a stretchable RFID tag as a strain-sensitive structure. The behavior of the tag can be modified by selection of the material. Research limitations/implications ‐ New tag designs, which are more sensitive to small levels of strain and which have a linear response will be the subject for future work. Tag performance under cyclic loading and in a real environment will also be investigated. Future work relating the investigation of practical applications and the system designing for the strain sensor will also be required. Practical implications ‐ Printing is fast and simple manufacturing process which does not produce much waste or material loss. The sensor is a new application of printed electronics. It also provides new opportunities for system designers. Originality/value ‐ The paper provides a new kind of wireless strain sensor which can be integrated into many structures (i.e. clothes). The sensor is a new application of printed electronics and it is made from novel materials.
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Keywords: Radiofrequencies; Sensors; Strain measurement; Tagging; Wireless

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 25, 2011

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