Embedded Nanosensors for defect identification using flexible, optically transparent, deformation responsive wrinkled Single Walled Carbon Nanotube meshes

Pallavi Anipindi, West Virginia University


Most structures such as buildings, pipelines carrying natural gas, nuclear plant cooling tanks and so forth are made of concrete. In vivo detection of the onset of cracks and voids in these concrete structures have many barriers and neglecting those could lead to failure of structures causing loss of properties and damage to lives. Embedded single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with exceptional mechanical, optical, and electrical properties can be utilized in overcoming these barriers. This type of NDT technique can monitor the potential for failure in concrete structures by allowing us to monitor the cracks from the atomistic level. It has been shown that the use of randomly distributed homogenous length sorted SWCNTs offer large active areas with high current output. Here we attempt to wrinkle SWCNTs configurations with high mechanical flexibility and stretchability which may in the future prove to be a diagnostic tool in various matrices as cracks are initiated. We investigated the use of these wrinkled SWCNT meshes in concrete material and monitored their conductivity response at the moment of crack initiation, voids and inclusion defects. SWCNT meshes are not only useful in recognition of cracks but also can be formed as useful nano-composites.;Key words: Carbon nanotubes, wrinkling, homogeneous length separation, Crack detection, SWCNTs as sensors.