Development of structural engineering, daring structures with record spans or heights, meets two serious obstacles—the limitations of traditionally used materials and the need of continuous monitoring of new structures subjected to complex loads, including those of dynamic nature. Considering the responsibility for the life of people and the budget of new structures, the need of constant monitoring is inevitable. This is why structural engineers seek for new solutions; among them, smart structures based on self-monitoring materials seem to be one of the most attractive proposals. It is still an unexplored area, but current research shows a high potential of the use of composites reinforced by carbon-based nanomaterials as self-sensing structural materials. Nanomaterials also influence other important features of structural materials, such as microstructure, mechanical, and transport-related properties. In this chapter, we present the state of art of the use of nanomaterials in structural engineering in various areas including mechanical and electrical properties as well as issues referring to durability.
Part of the book: New Uses of Micro and Nanomaterials