Researchers at UC Davis are using the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create strong coatings that can be sprayed onto any surface and monitoring changes in its structure. The sheet of material is sensitive to strain in the sense that if you pull on it or push on it, the electrical properties change depending on how much deformation occurs. The carbon nanotubes are sprayed onto the desired surface and electrodes are attached around the outside of the film. The overarching goal of this research is to derive a structural health monitoring and failure prognosis that is applicable to wind turbine structures. By using the test wind turbine and wireless sensor monitoring sensor on the roof of Bainer Hall, the scientists will devise an early-warning structural health monitoring system that will warn operators when damage to turbine blades poses a risk of structural failure.
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