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Stitched transmission lines for wearable RF devices

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posted on 27.06.2017, 15:05 by Isaac H. Daniel
With the rapid growth and use of wearable devices over the last decade, the advantages of using portable wearable devices are now been utilised for day to day activities. These wearable devices are designed to be flexible, low profile, light-weight and smoothly integrated into daily life. Wearable transmission lines are required to transport RF signals between various pieces of wearable communication equipment and to connect fabric based antennas to transmitters and receivers; the stitched transmission line is one of the hardware solutions developed to enhance the connectivity between these wearable devices. Textile manufacturing techniques that employ the use of sewing machines alongside conductive textile materials can be used to fabricate the stitched transmission line. In this thesis the feasibility of using a sewing machine in fabrication of a novel stitched transmission line for wearable devices using the idea of a braided coaxial cable have been examined. The sewing machine used is capable of a zig-zag stitch with approximate width and length within the range of 0-6 mm and 0-4mm respectively. The inner conductor and the tubular insulated layer of the stitched transmission lines were selected as RG 174, while the stitched shields were made up of copper wires and conductive threads from Light Stiches®. For shielding purpose, the structure is stitched onto a denim material with a conductive thread with the aid of a novel manufacturing technique using a standard hardware. The Scattering Parameters of the stitched transmission line were investigated with three different stitch angles 85°,65° and 31° through simulation and experiments, with the results demonstrating that the stitched transmission line can work usefully and consistently from 0.04 𝑡𝑜 4𝐺𝐻𝑧. The extracted Scattering parameters indicated a decrease in DC loss with increased stitch angle and an increase in radiation loses, which tends to increase with increase in frequency. The proposed stitched transmission line makes a viable transmission line but a short stitch length is associated with larger losses through resistance. The DC losses observed are mainly influenced by the resistance of the conductive threads at lower frequencies while the radiation losses are influenced by the wider apertures related to the stitch angles and increase in frequency along the line. The performances of the stitched transmission line with different stitch patterns, when subjected to washing cycles and when bent through curved angles 90° and 180° were also investigated and results presented. ii Also, the sensitivity of the design to manufacturing tolerances was also considered. First the behaviour of the stitched transmission line with two different substrates Denim and Felt were investigated with the results indicating an insignificant increase in losses with the Denim material. Secondly, the sensitivity of the design with variations in cross section dimensions was investigated using numerical modelling techniques and the results showed that the impedance of the stitched transmission line increases when the cross sectional dimensions are decreased by 0.40𝑚𝑚 and decreases when the cross sectional dimensions are increased by 0.40𝑚𝑚. Equally, repeatability of the stitched transmission line with three different stitch angles 85°,65° and 31° were carried out. The results were seen to be consistent up to 2.5𝐺𝐻𝑧, with slight deviations above that, which are mainly as a result of multiple reflections along the line resulting in loss ripples. The DC resistance of the stitched transmission line with three different stitch angles 85°,65° and 31° corresponding to the number of stitches 60,90 and 162 were computed and a mathematical relationship was derived for computing the DC resistance of the stitch transmission line for any given number of stitches. The DC resistance computed results of 25.6Ω,17.3Ω and 13.1Ω, for 31°,65° and 85° stitch angles, indicated an increase in DC resistance of the stitch with decrease in stitch angle which gives rise to an increase in number of stitches. The transfer impedance of the stitched transmission line was also computed at low frequency (<1𝐺𝐻𝑧) to be 𝑍𝑇=(0.24+𝑗1.09)Ω, with the result showing the effectiveness of the shield of the stitched transmission line at low frequency (<1𝐺𝐻𝑧)



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Isaac Hyuk Daniel

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.