Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.561, 93-103, 2020
Core-sheath nanofiber yarn for textile pressure sensor with high pressure sensitivity and spatial tactile acuity
Highly sensitive wearable textile pressure sensors represent the key components of smart textiles and personalized electronics, with potential applications in biomedical monitoring, electronic skin, and human-machine interfacing. Here, we present a simple and low-cost strategy to fabricate highly sensitive wearable textile pressure sensors for non-invasive human motion and physiological signal monitoring and the detection of dynamic tactile stimuli. The wearable textile sensor was woven using a one-dimensional (ID) weavable core-sheath nanofiber yarn, which was obtained by coating a Ni-coated cotton yarn electrode with carbon nanotube (CNT)-embedded polyurethane (PU) nanofibers using a simple electrospinning technique. In our design, the three-dimensional elastic porous nanofiber structure of the force-sensing layer and hierarchical fiber-bundled structure of the conductive Ni-coated electrode provide the sensor with a relatively large surface area, and a sufficient surface roughness and elasticity. This leads to rapid and sharp increases in the contact area under stimuli with low external pressure. As a result, the textile pressure sensor exhibits the advantages of a high sensitivity (16.52 N-1), wide sensing range (0.003-5 N), and short response time (similar to 0.03 s). Owing to these merits, our textile-based sensor can be directly attached to the skin as usual and conformally fit the shape deformations of the body's complex flexible curved surfaces. This contributes to the reliable real-time monitoring of human movements, ranging from subtle physiological signals to vigorous movements. Moreover, a large-area textile sensing matrix is successfully fabricated for tactile mapping of spatial pressure by being worn on the surface of wrist, highlighting the tremendous potential for applications in smart textiles and wearable electronics. (C) 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc.