Concrete is the most common construction material out there. Modern structures are in fact perfect examples of how concrete technology has evolved from the times of ancient Romans when it was first evolved.
Contemporary concrete is significantly different from its predecessor. Considering the time period, this change is indeed remarkable. The amount of strength and durability you can get from concrete now is simply amazing as it was not possible few decades back.
On its surface concrete hardly seems material of innovation but in fact, it shows how innovation process works. A scientist, Engineer, or inventor plays with concrete and finds out some process which can improve something.
Deborah Chung Observation On Smart Concrete
Deborah Chung at the State University of New York is one such innovator. She has expertise in composite material and structural science. At her lab, she wondered what would happen if she added a new material in concrete “carbon fibers”. A material that conducts electricity and strands of carbon atoms. Here are her major observations
- She discovered that if carbon fibers are added to concrete its electrical properties will change
- The fibers don’t touch but their inclusion in concrete matrix allows whole structure to conduct electricity
- It not only makes it a conductor but more importantly it makes concrete change its electrical resistance whenever it gets damaged.
Smart Concrete as sensor
These properties of concrete can make it work like a sensor. What that means is it can detect whenever its overloaded or it gets damaged. As we all know that concrete structures have to be monitored for cracking and stress levels through inspection. If this concept evolves then we will be able to monitor structures automatically.
Considering the uniqueness of her idea Chung filed a patent to protect her idea at US patent and trademark office