Wearable carbon nanotube fabric sensors for strain and temperature monitoring

Long Wang, Kenneth J. Loh, Helen S. Koo

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The safe, efficient, and reliable operations of structural systems often rest upon the performance of the human operator. In numerous historical examples, catastrophic failure was a result of human-related factors. Thus, the objective of this research is to develop wearable fabric sensors for monitoring human performance. In particular, the goal is to monitor human physiological parameters, namely respiratory rate and body temperature, as a means for assessing human operator performance (e.g., correlating them to fatigue or pre-existing medical conditions). This study presents preliminary results as to how these sensors can be fabricated, and their performance is characterized in the lab. First, multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWNT)-latex thin films with different MWNT concentrations were fabricated. The flexible films and stretchable fabric were combined to form a sandwich structure so that they could be worn directly. Second, its sensing properties were characterized by subjecting the fabric sensor to applied load patterns and temperature changes while its electrical response was measured. The results showed that the wearable fabric sensors' electrical response exhibited sensitivity to strain and temperature. Its flexibility and conformable nature make them ideally suited as wearable sensors.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) for the support of this research (under grant no. CMMI-1253564).

Publisher Copyright:
© International Conference on Advances in Experimental Structural Engineering. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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