Changes in conductivity in highly aligned carbon nanotubes could help a new paint detect cracks in structures like the foundation of wind turbines, such as this one in Romania's Tihuta Pass. (Source: Rsocol/Wikipedia Commons)
gsmith, this paint was developed in the UK, not the US, and when I reported this it was in a prototype stage, so I doubt if it's being used here. However, some of the comments in the message board below list a few articles by Charles Murray on various US attempts at detecting faults in similar structures using wireless sensor networks.
Ann, do you know if this paint is currently being used on any bridges in the US? I can't remember the stats or which bridge, when the US last bridge collapsed a report indicated there were a lot of bridges that needed repair. This type of paint even if it is just in a testing phase would serve a good purpose. I would be most interested in the any report that would be created from data collected at the various test sites.
Chuck, thanks for the links and info on this form of energy harvesting. It's also interesting to hear that bridges are already being built with wireless sensor networks for detecting structural problems. This research was done in Scotland, though, and the study makes it sound like they don't have those installed there for remote fault detection.
Thanks for the links, Chuck. I see you were writing about this back in 2009. One interesting aspect is that some of this is made possible because of lower power needs from sensors and other devices. So the advances is not just greater ability to harvest energy, but also that not as much energy is required.
The fan is designed specifically for woodstoves. There are a few different brands, but they seem to be practically identical. They all come in two sizes and I have the "large" size. The fan is designed only to distribute the heat in one room; it's not powerful enough for more than that. Most heat sources aren't, except for whole-house forced air furnace systems. I've always thought those were unnecessarily and ridiculously complex and expensive.
The woodstove is our major source of heat. It's unhelpfully located at one end of the (smallish) house's long axis (and not relocatable without great hassle and expense), so two small ceiling fans distribute the heat farther. But the farthest rooms tend to get cold in winter. About half way from the stove is a forced air propane wall heater for backup, but I rarely use it except on winter mornings before the woodstove cranks up. I hear that Vermonters adhere to the same principal as Scots and Brits: "put on a sweater!" Sounds like us here at my house.