Non-destructive evaluation techniques can offer viable diagnostic and prognostic routes to mitigating failures in engineered structures such as bridges, buildings and vehicles. However, existing techniques have significant drawbacks, including poor spatial resolution and limited in situ capabilities. We report here a novel approach where structural advanced composites containing electrically conductive aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are ohmically heated via simple electrical contacts, and damage is visualized via thermographic imaging. Damage, in the form of cracks and other discontinuities, usefully increases resistance to both electrical and thermal transport in these materials, which enables tomographic full-field damage assessment in many cases. Characteristics of the technique include the ability for real-time measurement of the damage state during loading, low-power operation (e.g. 15 °C rise at 1W), and beyond state-of-the-art spatial resolution for sensing damage in composites. The enhanced thermographic technique is a novel and practical approach for in situ monitoring to ascertain structural health and to prevent structural failures in engineered structures such as aerospace and automotive vehicles and wind turbine blades, among others.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering