Flexible Flow Sensor Device Based on Jonie Polymer-Metal Composite (IPMC) Sensing


Inventors: Kwang Kim, Nazanin Minaian, Taeseon Hwang

Kim: His research interests are in a broad spectrum of Energy Systems” and “Active Materials/Sensors, and his laboratory helps. He is a fellow of ASME and National Academy of Inventors (NAI). 

Minaian: The longtime career coach is helping Engineering students break into the burgeoning Southern Nevada tech start-up market

Hwang: His areas of expertise include Carbon and Barrier materials

The Invention: Methods in sensing and measuring the flow field around an object have been developed and studied extensively in the field of fluids dynamics. The information gathered from these methods can assist in streamlining airfoils for lift generation or can be considered valuable for the feedback in the dynamics and control scheme of the object. Currently, the technology for flow field measurement requires mechanically rigid and often bulky components or can require imagining and computational equipment that would be unfeasible to implement in real world application. Presented herein is a sensor device based on the flexible electroactive material known as ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs). Under an induced displacement, the IPMC will produce a measurable voltage signal which is then processed to determine information of the surrounding flow field. 


  • Versatility of the device allows for flexibility in scaling and shape design, and for usage in most fluid mediums
  • Sensor is assembled in an array configuration where the IPMCs are embedded within a flexible silicone-based substrate
  • Flexibility of the substrate will allow the device to be easily mounted on the external surfaces of objects
  • The sensors have significantly low power requirements in comparison to other flow measuring devices, and they are silent in operation.

Market Opportunity: 

  • According to Verified Market Reports, “The Ionic Polymer Metal Composites (IPMC) Market size is expected to develop revenue and exponential market growth at a remarkable CAGR during the forecast period from 2023–2030.”

Intellectual property:

  • Early stage, experimental stages with bench prototype
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Zachary Miles
Associate Vice President for Technology & Partnerships
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Kwang Kim
Tae Seon Hwang
Zakai Olsen
Nazanin Minaian
Engineering & Manufacturing
Engineering & Manufacturing - Mechanical Engineering
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