A team of researchers from the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer capable of revealing faults in a clear and efficient manner.
Specifically, the researchers created dye-spilling capsules that can be applied to all kinds of materials, where the dye then reacts to cracks or other damage.
Tiny microcapsules containing pH-sensitive dyes, held in an epoxy resin, create a vivid red color when reacting with the epoxy to reveal faults quicker than ever before.
The bigger the damage, the more vibrant the color, as cracks of merely 10 microns are enough to induce color changes.
Since the microscopic dye-spilling capsules can be applied to a myriad of materials including metals, polymers, and glasses, they could find applications in aerospace or even nuclear power plants.