Smart Phones, Smart Paint…Wait, What?

Smart Is As Smart Paint Does!

Man, oh man, is this interesting: smart paint that can detect problems in structures painted with it. Something I constantly tell the people in my life is this: “Technology will save the world.” I really believe that’s the truth. Yes, there are drawbacks we discover while learning to manufacture various technologies. Yes, we run into unforeseen problems. But at the end of the day, technology enables more people to enjoy a greater degree of safety, comfort, freedom and health. These things improve our odds of living happily, and that’s worth our effort. Read on after the jump for more!

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland have developed a new kind of paint–smart paint–with some interesting properties. The paint, made with Carbon Nanotubes, conducts electricity differently depending on whether the tubes are stressed or bent. Monitoring systems, wired into the paint itself, detect structural defects or fatigue. This in turn makes it easier to detect problems that often end in tragedy, saving lives, money and time. Oh, but there’s more!

Mohamed Saafi, Chair of the Civil Engineering Department at the university, explained, “There are no limitations as to where it could be used, and the low-cost nature gives it a significant advantage over the current options available in the industry.” Did I mention that smart paint gets even better?

He went on to say that “The process of producing and applying the paint also gives it an advantage, as no expertise is required and monitoring itself is straightforward.” So, they have a new kind of paint. It’s capable of monitoring the structural integrity of anything paintable. Existing painters, with existing painting skills and techniques can apply the paint with no additional training. Pretty slick!

Let’s make sure we give credit where it’s due, though. There’s a simple truth about any kind of  breakthrough: without visionary minds who create these innovations, none of the applications, jobs created, lives and money saved and so on, would be possible. Smart Paint is under development by Dr. Saafi and PhD candidate David McGahon, who expect to continue testing over the next few months in their native Glasgow. If all goes well, it may just be a few short years before buildings, bridges and other structures can tell us they need some attention. And I don’t know about you, but I desperately need to hear from bridges and buildings–SOON.

Source: CNet

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