(HONG KONG)

Researchers in Asia have developed a sprayable sensor ideal for use in monitoring the health of major structures of engineering.

The ‘nanocomposites-inspired sensors’ – created by a team from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) – can be sprayed on to either flat or curved surfaces, including aeroplane structures and train tracks. They can also be networked meaning they can provide real-time data on the structure. And they are cheap to make so a large number can be placed in a sensor network to pick up any problems. The PolyU team say this will pave ‘the way for a new era of ultrasonics-based structural health monitoring’.

“Due to its light weight, the novel nanocomposite sensors can be applied to moving structures like trains and aeroplanes. That will help to pave the way for real-time monitoring of these structures in future, enhancing safety of the engineering assets and retrofit the traditional system maintenance philosophy,” said Professor Su Zhongqing from PolyU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.