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Nanocoating to help monitor safety of aircraft, bridges

Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

NEW DELHI (BNS): A team from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is studying a new nanocomposite material that “could improve the maintenance of large-scale infrastructure and provide early warning of any destruction.”

Preventive maintenance and close monitoring of large infrastructure like bridges, ships are necessary ortherwise they can become highly dangerous and expensive to repair, Gizmag reported Thursday.

According to QUT School of Engineering Systems senior lecturer Dr Cheng Yan, if a small piece of the new polymer nanocomposite with carbon nanotube fillers is placed over various surfaces of the infrastructure, it would assist as an early warning system.

"It looks like a piece of thin black sheeting but it can act as a sensor to monitor the strength of infrastructure such as bridges, aircraft, and ships," Dr Yan explains.

"Large infrastructure like these must be monitored constantly for cracks, metal fatigue and warping over time so that repairs can be carried out before the damage becomes critical."

Light, strong, easy and cheap to install, the new nanocomposite was more adoptable than many current systems, Dr Yan said.

Maintenance personnel could monitor the small changes in conductivity which occurs when strain is applied to the sensor placed at crucial points on a structure. "It can be also fabricated as a large sensor network attached to the surface of a structure, similar to the neural system in the human body, applying to the detection of car crash and structural health monitoring for various structures," he said.


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