Development of Temperature Sensing Fabric

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Muhammad Husain


Human body temperature is an important indicator of physical performance and condition in terms of comfort, heat or cold stress. The aim of this research was to develop Temperature Sensing Fabric (TSF) for continuous temperature measurement in healthcare applications. The study covers the development and manufacture of TSF by embedding fine metallic wire into the structure of textile material using a commercial computerised knitting machine. The operational principle of TSF is based on the inherent propensity of a metal wire to respond to changes in temperature with variation in its electrical resistance. Over 60 TSF samples were developed with combinations of different sensing elements, two inlay densities and highly textured polyester yarn as the base material. TSF samples were created using either bare or insulated wires with a range of diameters from 50 to 150 micro metre and metal wires of nickel, copper, tungsten, and nickel coated copper. In order to investigate the Temperature-Resistance (T-R) relationship of TSF samples for calibration purposes, a customised test rig was developed and monitoring software was created in the LabVIEW environment, to record the temperature and resistance signals simultaneously. TSF samples were tested in various thermal environments, under laboratory conditions and in practical wear trials, to analyse the relationship between the temperature and resistance of the sensing fabric and to develop base line specifications such as sensitivity, resistance ratio, precision, nominal resistance, and response time; the influence of external parameters such as humidity and strain were also monitored. The regression uncertainty was found to be less than in ±0.1°C; the repeatability uncertainty was found to be less than ±0.5°C; the manufacturing uncertainty in terms of nominal resistance was found to be ± 2% from its mean. The experimental T-R relationship of TSF was validated by modelling in the thermo-electrical domain in both steady and transient states. A maximum error of 0.2°C was found between the experimental and modelled T-R relationships. TSF samples made with bare wire sensing elements showed slight variations in their resistance during strain tests, however, samples made with insulated sensing elements did not demonstrate any detectable strain-dependent-resistance error. The overall thermal response of TSF was found to be affected by basal fabric thickness and mass; the effect of RH was not found to be significant. TSF samples with higher-resistance sensing elements performed better than lower-resistance types. Furthermore, TSF samples made using insulated wire were more straightforward to manufacture because of their increased tensile strength and exhibited better sensing performance than samples made with bare wire. In all the human body wear trials, under steady-state and dynamic conditions both sensors followed the same trends and exhibited similar movement artifacts. When layers of clothing were worn over the sensors, the difference between the response of the TSF and a high-precision reference temperature were reduced by the improved isothermal conditions near the measurement site.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • William Kennon (Supervisor)
Award date31 Dec 2012