Monitoring fiber reinforced polymer composites (FRPC) during their production and operation is becoming crucial to track the performance of the final parts and optimize the overall life cycle. The challenges associated with integrating multifunctional sensors with the required aspect ratio, manufacturing scalability, robustness, and performance within FRPC parts remain, however, unresolved. Here, a novel class of electronic polymer fiber sensors that can be seamlessly integrated within FRPC, and can sense and decouple cure time, temperature, and strain during and postprocessing is reported. It is shown that the particular fiber geometry induces a minimal impact on the final FRPC microstructure. Integrating both capacitive- and resistive-based sensors within the electronic fibers, the monitoring of the resin flow and its curing during the production of FRPC parts is demonstrated. Finally, the embedded fiber sensors are used to measure and decouple thermal and mechanical loads imposed on the parts during their use, paving the way toward a new platform for smart and connected fiber reinforced polymer composites.
- capacitive sensors
- fiber reinforced polymer composites
- resistive sensors
- thermal drawing