Exploring the Potential of Magnetically Active Polymers in Force Sensing: Material, Design, and Experimental Insights


In our study, we delve into the potential of magnetically active polymers as base material for soft force sensors. The novelty of the approach lies in this elastomer’s dual role as a permanent magnet and soft interface which upon deformation exhibits a change in remanent magnetic field. We tested three distinct formulations, each permanently magnetized through their thickness and proceeded to characterize these variants mechanically, magnetically, and thermally, before shaping them into a hollow ring geometry mounted on a PCB with hall sensor for our force sensing purposes. We performed cyclic and stepwise loading compression tests up to 100 N on the produced sensor and observed a linear increase in remanent magnetic field with sensitivities of up to 9 μT/N . In addition, the temperature cycling tests of up to 75°C highlighted a constrained decrease of <7% of the initial remanent magnetic field. Combined with measured hardnesses spanning from 60 ShA to 70 ShA and densities <2g/cm3 , these elastomers show promise of mass manufacturable, low cost and compact force sensors for various contact applications.

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