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Adams, Rosenthal and Jennings Featured in and Nanowerk and Vanderbilt Research News

Posted by on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in News.

Mood ring materials – a new way to detect damage in failing infrastructure

“Mood ring materials” could play an important role in minimizing and mitigating damage to the nation’s failing infrastructure.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that more than $3.6 trillion in investment is needed by 2020 to rehabilitate and modernize the nation’s failing infrastructure. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to establish a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement program when he takes office.

An important element in any modernization effort will be the development of new and improved methods for detecting damage in these structures before it becomes critical. That is where “mood ring materials’ comes in.

Sprinkle a pixie dust of nanoparticles into a batch of clear polymer resin and you get “a smart material that changes color when it is damaged or about to fail, what I call a ‘mood ring material,’” explained Cole Brubaker, a doctoral student in civil engineering who is part of an interdisciplinary research team at Vanderbilt University’s Laboratory for Systems Integrity and Reliability (LASIR) developing the new sensing system.

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