The same material that makes the theft detectors go off in a department store when the salesperson forgets to remove the anti-theft tag, may make inexpensive, passive temperature and stress sensors for highways, concrete buildings and other applications possible, according to Penn State researchers.
"These materials typically cost about $100 a mile and each sensor is about an inch long," says Dr. Craig A. Grimes, associate professor of electrical engineering and member of Penn States Materials Research Institute. "Consequently, the sensors would cost just about nothing, or about a half cent apiece."
The material used in these sensors is an amorphous ribbon of alloy that is manufactured to be softly magnetic by quick cooling. One example is an iron, molybdenum, boron, silicon alloy. Magnetically soft materials have no strong fixed magnetic fields, even though they contain iron. In magnetically soft materials, the magnetic field switches back and forth depending on the environment and can generate many higher order harmonic frequencies.
Andrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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