Wireless Monitoring of Small Strains in Intelligent Robots via a Joule Heating Effect in Stretchable Graphene–Polymer Nanocomposites

Ding Zhang, Suwen Xu, Xue Zhao, Weiqi Qian, Chris R. Bowen, Ya Yang

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Flexible strain sensors are an important component for future intelligent robotics. However, the majority of current strain sensors must be electrically connected to a corresponding monitoring system via conducting wires, which increases system complexity and restricts the working environment for monitoring strains. Here, stretchable graphene–polymer nanocomposites that act as strain sensors using a Joule heating effect are reported. When the resistance of the sensor changes in response to a strain, the resulting change in temperature is wirelessly detected in an intelligent robot. By engineering and optimizing the surface structure of graphene–polymer nanocomposites, the fabricated strain sensors exhibit excellent stability when subjected to periodic temperature signals over 400 cycles while being periodically strained and deliver a high strain sensitivity of 7.03 × 10−4 °C−1 %−1 for strain levels of 0% to 30%. As a wearable electronic device, the approach provides the capability to wirelessly monitor small strains for intelligent robots at a high strain resolution of ≈0.1%. Moreover, when the strain sensing system operates as a multichannel structure, it allows precise strain detection simultaneously, or in sequence, for each finger of an intelligent robot.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1910809
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number13
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2020


  • graphene–polymer
  • joule heating effects
  • strain sensors
  • stretchable sensors
  • wireless monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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