Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, are developing a low-cost smart paint that can detect faults at the microscopic level in structures before any damage occurs.
The environmentally friendly paint utilizes nanotechnology and could save time and money traditionally spent on assessing large structures.
The smart paint can be applied to any surface and is formed using a recycled waste product known as fly ash and highly aligned carbon nanotubes. Because fly ash is the main material used to make the paint, it costs just 1% of widely used inspection methods.
“The properties of the fly ash give the paint a durability that will allow it to be used in any environment, which will be a massive advantage in areas where the weather can make safety monitoring particularly difficult,” says Mohamed Saafi, a researcher at the university’s Department of Civil Engineering.