Smart Coatings for the Assessment of Impact and Thermal Damage on Composites

Period of Performance: 05/09/2006 - 08/13/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator


Luna Innovations is developing damage indicator paints for polymer matrix composites (PMCs) used as structural components in military and commercial aircraft. The complex structure of composites makes detection of cracks, flaws, and weak points within a structural component challenging. Composite damage resulting from impact or thermal events can be difficult to visually detect by personnel servicing the aircraft. Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods can be effective but are also time consuming and expensive for frequent routine inspections. The damage indicator paint developed by Luna will allow aircraft inspection personnel to visually detect potential composite damage quickly in the field without the use of expensive equipment. Areas of damage highlighted by the paint can then be more closely inspected to determine needed repairs. This technology will help to prevent structural failure and will reduce the time and expense of instrumented NDE testing.BENEFITS: This technology can be applied as damage sensing paint in any fiber reinforced structures used in a variety of applications including commercial aircraft, armor, advanced vehicle power trains, off-shore drilling platforms, marine craft, and advanced sporting equipment. Parallel to this damage detection technology are commercial applications in self-healing and corrosion prevention materials.