Nanotech Combines With Paint, Monitors Buildings for Damage


Soon buildings might tell you that they are condemned, rather than building inspectors. New research by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow has created a type of paint embedded with nanotechnology.

The purpose? To detect cracks. The researcher’s goal? To do nothing less than “revolutionize structural safety.”

The new paint relies on novel nanotechnology that turns a painted surface into a sensor field. Basically, the researchers embedded carbon nanotubes and fly ash into paint.

The carbon nanotubes are conductive and align themselves. When some of them bend, or move away from each other, for example when a building begins buckling or cracking, the electrical resistance changes. So all the researchers need to do is monitor the electrical resistance, say on a graph or an old steam guage with a “danger” zone, in order to discover if the building is having problems.

But what does the fly ash do? It lets the paint be applied in environments that could normally strip paint off of walls. Basically it makes the paint resemble concrete.