A novel technology for sensing mechanical quantities such as force, stress, strain, pressure and acceleration has been invented. This technology is based on a change in the electrochemically generated voltage (electromotive force) with application of force, stress, strain, pressure or acceleration. The change in the voltage is due to a change in the internal resistance of the electrochemical cell with a change in the relative position or orientation of the electrodes (anode and cathode) in the cell. The signal to be detected (e.g. force, stress, strain, pressure or acceleration) is applied to one of the electrodes to cause a change in the relative position or orientation between the electrodes. Various materials, solid, semisolid, gel, paste or liquid can be utilized as the electrolyte. The electrolyte must be an ion conductor. The examples of solid electrolytes include specific polymer conductors, polymer composites, ion conducting glasses and ceramics. The electrodes are made of conductors such as metals with dissimilar electronegativities. Significantly enhanced sensitivities, up to three orders of magnitude higher than that of comparable commercial sensors, are obtained. The materials are substantially less expensive than commercially used materials for mechanical sensors.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
This invention was made with government support under DE-FC02-91-ER75678, Amendment No. A006 awarded by Department of Energy through the Alabama DOE/EPSCoR Program. The government has certain rights in the invention.