Stress–strain curves of ceramic/PDMS composite
16.05.2024 •

Highly Flexible, High-Performance, and Stretchable Piezoelectric Sensor Based on a Hierarchical Droplet-Shaped Ceramics with Enhanced Damage Tolerance

Abstract

Stretchable self-powered sensors are of significant interest in next-generation wearable electronics. However, current strategies for creating stretchable piezoelectric sensors based on piezoelectric polymers or 0–3 piezoelectric composites face several challenges such as low piezoelectric activity, low sensitivity, and poor durability. In this paper, a biomimetic soft-rigid hybrid strategy is used to construct a new form of highly flexible, high-performance, and stretchable piezoelectric sensor. Inspired by the hinged bivalve Cristaria plicata, hierarchical droplet-shaped ceramics are manufactured and used as rigid components, where computational models indicate that the unique arched curved surface and rounded corners of this bionic structure can alleviate stress concentrations. To ensure electrical connectivity of the piezoelectric phase during stretching, a patterned liquid metal acts as a soft circuit and a silicone polymer with optimized wettability and stretchability serves as a soft component that forms a strong mechanical interlock with the hierarchical ceramics. The novel sensor design exhibits excellent sensitivity and durability, where the open circuit voltage remains stable after 5000 stretching cycles at 60% strain and 5000 twisting cycles at 180°. To demonstrate its potential in heathcare applications, this new stretchable sensor is successfully used for wireless gesture recognition and assessing the progression of knee osteoarthritis.