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Determination of Dielectric Constant of Fabric Materials and Their Use as Substrates for Design and Development of Antennas for Wearable Applications

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2 Author(s)
S. Sankaralingam ; Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India ; Bhaskar Gupta

A novel approach to measure the dielectric constant of fabric substrate materials used for the development of wearable antennas (also called textile antennas) is presented in this paper. The technique reported here is based on the resonance method and focused on the use of microstrip patch radiator, which contains fabric material as its substrate. The accurate value of the dielectric constant of the fabric material can easily be extracted from the measured resonant frequency of the patch radiator. The dielectric constant values of six fabric materials, including jeans cotton, polyester combined cotton, and polyester, have been determined by this way. As an extended objective of this paper, initial investigations are done to study the performance/behavioral characteristics of wearable antennas in the Bluetooth industrial, scientific, and medical band. Two of the six textile antenna structures, developed to meet out the primary objective of determining the dielectric constant of fabrics, are tested, and their performance characteristics, such as impedance bandwidth, gain, efficiency, etc., are measured. In addition, another Bluetooth antenna employing polyester fabric substrate is designed considering its measured accurate value of dielectric constant and subjected to radiation pattern measurements. In general, all the measured antennas yield very good results, fulfilling the requirements for practical applications, and in particular, the third fabric antenna utilizing the accurate value of the dielectric constant determined shows superior performance characteristics compared to others, indicating the correctness of our approach. Thus, the suitability of fabric substrate materials for the development of textile antennas with microstrip patch configuration is also well demonstrated.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 12 )