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This paper presents the work in the area of sensing, using smart materials, more specific dielectric electro active polymers (DEAPs). Sensing is one of the main trio-characteristics of DEAPs; the trio-formations as applicable uses are actuator, transducer, and finally sensor. It is noted that one of the main value propositions whenever DEAP material is used, is the dual characteristics as the sensing/actuating capability. In the following work, the DEAP membrane will be modeled and the relation among the key variables (pressure and capacitance) will be determined. Hence, such a relation depends on the geometrical shape of the used membrane. The development process is carried out to propose alternative solutions for the sensor design using the DEAP and the laminate material. Test methodology, pressure-based test rig, prototypes, and software are developed afterwards to evaluate the prototypes test pieces. In general, the DEAP material has proven to be a very good sensor for pressure taking the advantage of flexibility, wide range of operation, and finally the sensitivity. The theoretical model is benchmarked against the acquired data from the tests, whereby high correlation within an approximate range of 0-23 mmHg (1.7% mean error) has been observed showing a promising application for the DEAP material in pressure sensing in general, and demonstrating the feasibility for the conceptualization of the blood pressure sensing system based on DEAP material.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012