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Farjand • Jun 17, 2011

NC State University Researchers Make 'Self Repairing Sensor'

[​IMG]Recently, there have been certain advances in making self repairable plastics and other materials. Such materials are capable of mending themselves whenever they suffer a crack or are broken. There are also the devices which measure stress and strain on these structures. However, it becomes a tough job to collect data if the sensors itself are broken. Researchers of North Carolina state university have found out a solution to mend this damage by developing a self healing sensor which can send data continuously even in case of earthquake or explosion.
Kara Peters, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State is one of the researchers of the North Carolina State University who has contributed to the invention. She said that this sensor can be used at the places where there was a possibility of damage to the measuring equipments. So this means that it would now be possible to monitor the stress exerted on wings of an Air plane during a bird strike even if the instrument breaks. We can simply have a regular flow of data.
The sensor measures mechanical stresses induced in the structure depending on its own change of length. The sensor designed is equipped with a resin, which can be cured by UV radiation. It consists of two glass optical fibers aligned to each other but having a gap in between them which is filled by this resin reservoir. Through one of the optical cables, a focused beam of UV rays and Infrared light flows and when they strike the resin in the gap, it hardens thus completing the whole circuit. Whenever the sensor is broken again, the same action of light again takes place thereby hardening the plastic again and again.
Such unbreakable/self repairable sensors are now finding places of extreme conditions, where it was earlier impossible to record data and conduct experiments. The new research and development of sensor has solved this difficulty to a great level. The present work regarding the sensor is published in June issue of Smart materials and structures titled “A self repairing polymer wave guide sensor”. The paper is co authored by Kara peters and NC State Ph.D. student Young Song.
Source: Gizmag Image Credit: eScienceNews

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