280141 Flexible Resistive Based Temperature Sensor to Detect Heat and Sweat Inside the Sockets of Prosthetics

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 5:25 PM
Westmoreland East (Westin )
Nathaniel J. Blasdel, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Akron, Akron, OH

The most current estimate states there are approximately 1 in 190 persons living in the United States with major limb-loss while the rate of amputations completed increases each year. This necessitates an importance for understanding both quality of life rated (QOLR) issues and options to remediate prevalent problems. There are a number of important quality of life factors affecting people living with the loss of a limb and the number one issue is ambulation or replacing the functionality of the lost limb. Throughout time we have developed many different styles of prosthetics to fill this deficiency, while the socket style prosthetic has evolved to be one of the most common solutions. These socket style prosthetics facilitate a need to replace a missing limb, but with this comes problems associated with the use of the device. Proper fitting is important, along with proper care of the device and residual limb. These are issues that can be controlled by the amputee. One major, currently uncontrollable issue reported by amputees using socket style prosthesis is the combination of heat and sweat inside the socket. This is troublesome for a residual limb, because the socket can become hot and humid during even just regular use and can cause a variety of dermatological conditions if proper care is not taken. The major contributors to heat and sweat inside the socket are personal activity, and socket and liner materials of construction. Socket and liner materials of construction negatively affects the socket environment by inhibiting heat transfer away from the residual limb and just ten minutes of walking can increase the average residual limb temperature by 1.7C. A reduction in heat transfer causes sweat inside the socket, which can create a moist, abrasive environment between the skin and the sock or liner, coupled with pressure from the prosthetic socket during use facilitates an uncomfortable environment with the potential for sores, blisters, and rashes. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the feasibility of monitoring heat and sweat by using a sensing composite made of nylon 6, carbon nanotubes, and polypyrrole. The sensing unit incorporates a resistive device composed of the substrate, nylon nanofibers, the bulk electron transport medium, carbon nanotubes, and the sensing layer, conductive polypyrrole. This presentation describes the design and fabrication methods of a working flexible temperature sensor. It illustrates how the fiber diameter, nanotube loading, and polymerization scheme affects the sensor current response and it will discuss the techniques used to analyze and verify the material.

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