Intelligent Coating: A Loaded Opportunity in Advancing Global Change

The thought of sustaining human life into 2050 is a daunting prospect. Humanity is already overwhelmed with population growth and we still rely on developed communities to support progress and to sustain environmental wellness worldwide.

Leaders and advocates of progressive infrastructure development are responsible for their community impact. Unfortunately, global leaders lose sight of their position and responsibilities, and talk more about the need for environmental conservation than implementing their commitments for it.

In our developed country, we have access to resources that integrate environmentally sustainable processes into daily life. We host opportunities that press on our responsibility to lead global influence because we have the means to demonstrate environmental awareness. Consequently, outstanding leadership in infrastructure development is imperative for our future generations as we activate crises management to balance global wellness.

The combination of environmental crises and economic instability raises our greatest fears, and the masses are convinced that we are unprepared and unequipped to manage sustainability within our communities. The onus rests on developed countries to lead the growing population through sustainable living.

Global economic instability challenges us to focus on the importance of sustainable infrastructure, but there’s no simple answer. Sustainable infrastructure is a multiloaded concept that aims to apply long-term, cost-effective solutions for sustainable living conditions that contribute to global wellness. However, the development of sustainable infrastructure is challenged by political agendas that deny responsibility (and funding) for drastic environmental reform.

As an aspiring community leader of environmental stewardship, I see Kelso Industrial Group and many Canadian businesses as potential contributors of progressive infrastructure development. These businesses are in powerful positions to define foundational influence in redirecting policy and civil practice towards the improvement of environmental conditions, on local and global levels. However, these businesses are up against governing bodies and policy makers and cannot put forth the effort alone. If community commitments actuate the benefit of supporting groups and businesses, like Kelso Industrial Group, in combining sustainable efforts to build a better future, we may be lucky enough to practice effective population management within our generational lifetime.

With these intentions in mind, I enjoyed researching the technological scope of intelligent coating and structural health monitoring for this essay submission. I determined that structural health is a valuable division of infrastructure development and with more funding and research, it could be a necessary component of future structural composition because the technology is widely effective in producing global benefit for our expanding world.

Intelligent coating supports the conservation of energy and natural resources; it dramatically reduces emissions related to wastes and by-products of multifunctional structures; and it eliminates perpetual costs related to the repair and maintenance of infrastructure units that sustain damage of various nature.

The technological concept of intelligent coating falls under an umbrella category of structural health monitoring. Structural health monitoring is a symbiotic system of processes that integrate with the composition of a structural unit. Within the structural body, these health monitoring processes and technologies are designed as interdependent components, each contributing specific functions to the whole structural nervous system – much like the interdependent functions of various human organs that form the whole human body.

As a testament to the human nervous system, these processes monitor and harmonize structural elements. They detect, assess and correct, or alleviate structural stresses and wear, thereby preventing and warning the structural system of impending degradation. Essentially, structural health monitoring is a system of technologies that breathes life into self-sustaining infrastructure.

One of these structural health monitoring processes operates as a built-in defense mechanism called intelligent or sensitive coating. Intelligent coating is a diverse technology that enhances structural function by integrating piezo-electric or ferro-electric elements with coating applications.

These piezo- and ferro-electric elements are integrated into structural surface materials and act as the thinking component of a non-permeable skin. Much like the human integumentary system, intelligent coating technology serves as a detection and relay mechanism that converts and communicates minute physical forces into sonic forces which then translate into frequency readings that are interpreted to diagnose structural health. This complex sequence of force transduction is the fundamental activity involved in the technological processes that define the function of intelligent coating.

In other words, intelligent coating acts like a thinking skin that detects and sends warning signals to other structural health processes, thereby preventing damage to the structural unit.

With an integrated system of enhanced damage prevention, structural units – regardless of their functional purpose – will be equipped to sustain against wear from the natural elements and stresses of age.

This promotes structural longevity and eliminates costs related to manual structural inspections and maintenance, while also reducing high-loss structural damages caused by weathered and aged materials, and effectively reducing resource consumption associated with frequent material repair.

The beauty of this integrated system of intelligent coating is in its multi-functionality. The face value of this technology seems to offer the most benefit by preventing high-loss damage to structural units. However, a large-scale implementation project could mean all existing and future infrastructures become technologically equipped to improve structural inefficiencies, thereby deterring the flow of waste products and permeable forces from seeping in or out of structural units through cracks, deteriorating materials or weak seals.

Intelligent coatings are compatible with window materials as well, such as glass and high-density polymers. Therefore, they are highly beneficial to human health because the technology is designed to detect abnormal frequencies that permeate the material layers bound to the intelligent coating. In detecting abnormal frequencies, like high levels of ultra violet waves, the technological function of intelligent coating sends signals to other components of the structural health monitoring system to manipulate the material integration and blocks these abnormal frequencies from penetrating the structural units.

In a large-scale application, intelligent technology can hugely impact the way humans conserve energy in their daily lives and activities. It may not be the catch-all for radicalizing shifts in environmental degradation or economic crises, however, if combined with the conscious efforts of those who are activating radical policy reform, the technology behind structural health monitoring remains a highly effective measure of improving the earth’s environmental condition.

In a democratic playing field, technological advancements such as intelligent coating and nanotechnology in structural health monitoring can drive infrastructure development towards the benefit of a greater future for the world we share. If the global community stands a chance at sustaining human life into 2050, it will heavily rely on the way we utilize the opportunities and assets that we have to our advantage, and how we, as a community, use these to build our world better.

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