The self-repairing stress sensor is able to rebuild its polymer filament using liquid resin and a UV light beam (Image: Kara Peters)
While it’s always disturbing to hear about the unexpected collapse of a bridge or building, technology is being developed to lessen the chances of such incidents occurring. Increasingly, this is taking the form of sensors that are implanted within structures, that measure and transmit data on the stresses that the surrounding material is experiencing. If the mechanical strain causes one of those sensors to break, however, it won’t be much good anymore – depending on its location, it also may be impossible to replace. Fortunately, researchers at North Carolina State University have created a self-healing structural stress sensor.