A new paint able to show areas of strain could help alert engineers to areas of compression and stress.
Developed by researchers at Rice University, the "strain paint" is made up of nanotubes that, when damaged, will glow under near-IR light. The paint can map stress in any direction across a large area, allowing an inspector on the ground to create a strain map of an aircraft wing simply by using a handheld IR spectrometer.
The coating could also be used on spacecraft, allowing astronauts and automated systems to check the structures before re-entry, as well as on bridges and buildings.
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