A nanotube-infused paint invented at Rice University allows strain to be read using a near-infrared spectrometer
Rice University Professor Bruce Weisman introduced the idea of strain paint for finding weaknesses in materials with this slide from a presentation to NASA in 2010 (Photo: Bruce Weisman/Rice University)
Polarized light from a laser and a near-infrared spectrometer could read levels of strain in a material coated with nanotube-infused paint invented at Rice University (Photo: Bruce Weisman/Rice University)
Rice Professors Bruce Weisman and Satish Nagarajaiah, research scientist Sergei Bachilo and graduate student Venkata Srivishnu Vemuru; and Paul Withey, an associate professor of physics at the University of Houston – Clear Lake (Photo: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University)
While wireless sensors for detecting the strain placed on bridges and buildings, such as the SenSpot, are easier and cheaper to install than embedded wired networks of sensors, they still need to be in physical contact with the structure being monitored. Researchers at Rice University have now developed a new type of paint, infused with carbon nanotubes, that could make strain detection of materials in buildings, bridges and aircraft possible without actually touching the material.
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