A method is presented for patterning polymers with nanoscale gold networks and using the pattern to measure strain in the polymer. A gold film is first coated on a porous alumina template. After coating, the template is impressed into a polymer, and the template is dissolved to leave a continuous metal network on or slightly below the surface of the polymer. The network has a random structure and is electrically conductive and has potential applicability to structural health monitoring. We show that it can be used as a means of measuring deformation through changes in electrical conductivity and continuity and also as a means to measure local material response during controlled loading.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/xiaodong_li/156/