Researchers have developed a 'smart paint' able to detect tiny faults before damage can occur, and at a fraction of the cost of current methods.
The paint is made mostly of fly ash mixed with carefully aligned carbon nanotubes. Once it is applied to the surface of the object, it is embedded with electrodes. When the nanotubes in the paint bend, their conductivity changes, which is detected by the electrodes. The electrodes communicate via wireless transmitters located throughout the structure, which could then signal an alert system.
The team, from the University of Strachclyde, have demonstrated a successful prototype, and are now hoping to have positive results on a larger structure.
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