Think how many life’s can be saved if a system which could sense structural damage quite early. For suppose if we detect a damage in a bridge we could repair it or could avoid it.
Researchers at Princeton University have built a new type of sensor that could help engineers quickly assess the health of a building or bridge. The sensor is an organic laser, deposited on a sheet of rubber: when it’s stretched—by the formation of a crack, for instance—the color of light it emits changes.
For more than a decade, researchers have explored ways to make dense arrays of sensors capable of covering large areas. Sensing skins are especially intriguing to civil engineers, who know the importance of detecting damage in infrastructure so that disasters can be avoided. This technology was published in Advanced Materials magazine and also covered in MIT’s technology review.
There are various factors that cause for a structural damage. Some of the factors such as wear and tear, weather, or the weight of a construction could cause a disaster. One sensor may not be sufficient for all types of structural problems like strain, deflection, cracks, corrosion or the loosening of bolts.
In India we are yet to catch up with the western countries to implement various warning systems in our infrastructure, but if young engineers like you could develop an inexpensive technology that would motivate our policy makers to implement them.