‘Sensing skin’ detects cracks in concrete

     Technology Focus

Engineers at MIT are working in collaboration with physicists at Germany’s University of Potsdam to ensure that one of the strongest building materials continues to stay strong by detecting faults. Concrete is used widely for building bridges, large buildings and other structures and although it is incredibly strong, cracks do occur and could be fatal if they’re not detected.  “Sensing Skin” is a flexible crack-detecting skin that could be applied to the surfaces of concrete surfaces to detect cracks and prevent a potential disaster.

This skin is made up of rectangular patches that can detect changes in its electrical charge and can be tailored to a geometric design appropriate for the type of crack likeliest to form in a particular part of a structure: for example, diagonal square patches to detect cracks caused by shear, or horizontal patches to detect the cracks caused by a sagging horizontal beam.

Is this a better more efficient way to keep our structures safe?  Or is human inspection a more reliable way of ensuring safety of these large structures?  This type of innovation allows for real-time updates of cracking in concrete as well as being able to specifically pinpoint the location of a crack and in my opinion seems like an excellent way to prevent potential disaster from structures that are not properly evaluated and maintained.  Click here to read more 

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