A new smart polymer nanocomposite layer, based on semiconductor Cu2S nanoparticles embedded into an amorphous polystyrene matrix, was developed for the detection of low-velocity impact damage on composite structures. This material exhibits a combination of optical and electro-magnetic properties, in way that it can be employed to visualize in quick and effective manner barely visible impact damage (BVID). In particular, based on the phenomenon of the photoluminescence, this layer showed specific light emission in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum under UV-light excitation at different wavelength. The results of a series of low-velocity impact tests illustrated a visible contrast colour on the damaged area, representing the flaw. In fact, the study of the optical characteristics of this smart material is of particular benefit for fast, cost-effective and in situ damage identification. Hence, once the impact location has been determined, the detailed information of the damage can be further investigated by others non-destructive techniques.
- smart layer
- low-velocity impact