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)
I'm with you--I like finding out about technologies that can be used for other applications. In this case, what I've learned about aerospace composites, specifically carbon fiber types, makes me hesitate to think this one can be applied to them, since fault detection seems so different with them.
vimalkumarp, that's an interesting observation. It may be possible to adapt this paint to detection of cracks in aircraft. However, I'd guess that it's a different problem set with a different solution. That's seems to be true in the case of composite fault detection as I've reported on here:
Thanks, Rob. I have heard about the ones that work by harvesting energy from body movement and/or heat. Somehow that seems easier to immediately grasp than the ones that get charged by ambient vibrations. This article made the ambient vibrations method clear: it's piezoelectric, which makes total sense, and I should have guessed that. On top of my wood stove is a piezoelectric fan that creates electricity from the stove's heat and redistributes that heat faster throughout the room. The efficiency increase actually saves me a bit on firewood.
This smart paint can be of great use in SHM ( Structural Health Monitoring) systems that can be implemented on aircrafts and other aerospcae structures. Smart paint with the WSN ( wireless Sensor Network ) can improve the maintenance operation and will be a boon to the aircraft industry
I first learned about them while doing a story on remote sensors. Self-charging batteries are also being developed for medical applications for devices that are put into people's bodies. Those are chaged based on the temperature difference between the human body and the world outside.
Yes, I was very surprised to learn that batteries could be charged by slight ambient vibration -- such as a truck going by on a nearby freeway, or cars traveling over a bridge. I would imagine this is possible in part because the sensors require very little energy.
Rob, self-charging batteries on remote sensors makes a lot of sense, thanks for the input. I think what we're also seeing in this case, as well as the ones you describe, is more attention being paid to designing total systems that are simpler and more self-sustaining. Totally cool! And green without any "washing."