Researchers have developed a multi-layered “sensing skin” to detect corrosive or otherwise harmful substances in structures. The skin can also detect cracks and other structural flaws that are invisible to the naked eye.

"We’ve created a skin that can be applied to the surface of almost any structure and be used to monitor the structure’s integrity remotely and in real time, identifying potential problems long before they become catastrophic,” says Mohammad Pour-Ghaz, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper describing the work.

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