A team from Sweden’s Linköping University has used an aerogel material to create a sensor capable of independently measuring humidity, temperature and pressure.
The sensor’s uses include anything from robotics and the Internet of Things to patient monitoring and functional textiles.
The sensor is made of an elastic, cellulose-based aerogel that conducts both ions and electrons. This material is thermoelectric, meaning it can measure temperature change, but it also measures humidity, because that property affects the movement of the ions.
The sensor can measure pressure because the material’s electrical resistance falls when pressure is applied to it.
“We can distinguish between the thermoelectric response of the electrons (giving the temperature gradient) and that of the ions (giving the humidity level) by following the electrical signal versus time,” said Linköping’s Professor Xavier Crispin.