Development of Patterns for Nanoscale Strain Measurements: I. Fabrication of Imprinted Au Webs for Polymeric Materials

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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.