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UT’s Penumadu Helps Develop Breakthrough Adhesive

The UT Research Foundation and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering recently submitted a patent application on behalf of Fred N. Peebles Professor Dayakar Penumadu for a new type of adhesive.

Called a “smart joint” system, the technology has a number of key features and applications and is characterized by being lightweight, flexible, inexpensive, and easy-to-install

It consists of distributed optical fiber sensors that provide critical stress, strain and temperature information to designers and manufacturers working with advanced materials.

“Smart joint can be used for optimizing, monitoring, and preventing failures between joints of materials and has applications for the aerospace, wind, infrastructure, and automotive sectors,” said Penumadu, the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM) Chair of Excellence in the Tickle College of Engineering. “Adhesively bonded joints that are suitably surface treated show a lot of promise for maintaining stealth and avoiding holes for mechanical fasteners.

“This technology will be revolutionary for such applications.”

Luna Innovations Incorporated ODiSI product (Optical Distributed Sensing) is the key technology that allows for embedding of fiber sensors within composite materials to develop them into “smart” structures.

The current market for “lightweighting” materials already exceeds $150 billion, with a particular need—and thus, a growing market—within aerospace and automotive industries.

The technology gained attention by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) at its Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, where it was named a finalist for the Awards for Composite Excellence (ACE).