A team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Eastern Finland developed a new technology that operates as an early warning system to alert authorities of cracks or damage to concrete structures.
This technology utilizes electrodes that are placed around the perimeter of a structure, and a coat of electrically conductive paint is painted on the structure. A small current is run between two of the electrodes simultaneously, cycling through a variety of different combinations of electrodes. The electrical potential of all the electrodes on the structure are recorded, and then data is analyzed to calculate the spatially distributed electrical conductivity of the sensing skin. If the structure has cracked or been damaged, the conductivity of the skin will decrease.