This is a bit of really cool news coming from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – new technology enables real-time diagnostics and on-site repair.
Adding even a small amount of carbon nanotubes can go a long way toward enhancing the strength, integrity, and safety of plastic materials widely used in engineering applications, according to a new study that a research team has been working on for more 18 months.
Researchers at RPI have developed a simple new technique for real-time detection and repairing small but potentially dangerous fatigue-induced cracks in high-performance aircraft wings and many other structures made from polymer composites.
Once a crack is located, engineers can then send a short electrical charge to the area in order to heat up the carbon nanotubes and in turn melt an embedded healing agent that will flow into and seal the crack with a 70 percent recovery in strength.
Read more the full RPI press release.