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'Smart Paper' Can Conduct Electricity, Detect Water

A University of Washington scientist turned a lab accident into an inventive new sensor. The discovery occurred when a student spilled water onto paper laced with conductive nanomaterials. The water swelled the fibers in the paper, which broke the electrical connection of the nanomaterials and turned off an indicator light. This smart paper may be wrapped around water pipes to detect leaks--a problem that costs public utilities about $2.8 billion each year.

NIFA originally published this impact in the NIFA 2017 Annual Report. Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

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