In this work a review of the technology surrounding high deflection strain sensing with an emphasis on that of a recently developed nickel nano-composite strain sensor is presented. A new base silicone material was identified for the nickel nano-composite strain sensor that improves its mechanical stiffness and conductive properties. A previously identified cyclic creep concern was mitigated through preconditioning and the use of adhered backing materials. Through a block design experiment the strain/resistance curves for the strain sensors were characterized over a wide range of nano-filler material compositions. An analytical model was developed based on observation that the resistance of the sensors follows a log-normal response with respect to applied strain. The model demonstrated high fidelity in representing the resistance-strain relationship of the sensors yielding an average R2 value of .93. A standard least squares statistical analysis confirmed strong relationships between curve fit parameters of the modified log-normal model and additive volume fractions with significance at the .05 level for each case. A suitable strain gauge composition was selected for a specific application: a fetal monitoring device. A prototype belt was developed that is worn over the abdomen to detect deflections cause by labor contractions and other fetal movements. Simulation testing on the device was performed and the device was found to be a feasible option for fetal monitoring.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





nano-composite, strain, high deflection, fetal monitoring