Developed by Rice University scientists, a new type of nano-infused paint can indicate where a building, airplane, or bridge is strained, detecting damage before it can be plainly observed. Named “strain paint,” this paint is made with carbon nanotubes and glows under near-infrared light.
The strain can be read by a handheld infrared spectrometer in a way that displays a map of all strained areas, rather than simply that which exists in a specific location. Strain can be detected from a distance, meaning that an inspector could be standing on the ground and examining an airplane wing. According to the researchers, this method “provides a big advantage over conventional strain gauges, which must be physically connected to their read-out devices.”
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