Sense of Strain

Magnetic resonance imaging reveals unusual strain in a human body. Now a related physical effect, called nuclear quadrupole resonance, may help check for strain in the composite materials that are becoming common in everything from bridges to airplanes. The method, being developed by San Diego-based Quantum Magnetics, requires an undisclosed additive to be mixed into the composite as it is being formed. When this substance is hit by radio waves, it emits a different frequency; the magnitude of the shift indicates the strain in the material.

In one potential application, radio devices could be permanently affixed to various points on a structure to check the strain continually. Alternatively, a mobile unit could check for strain at particular points during routine maintenance. A commercial strain-monitoring system is about two years off, says researcher Stephanie Vierkotter.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from undefined

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

You've read of free articles this month.