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The piezospectroscopic effect, relating a material’s stress state and spectral signature, has recently demonstrated tailorable sensitivity when the photo-luminescent alpha alumina is distributed in nanoparticulate form within a matrix. Here, the stress-sensing behavior of an alumina-epoxy nanoparticle coating, applied to a composite substrate in an open hole tension configuration, is validated with the biaxial strain field concurrently determined through digital image correlation. The coating achieved early detection of composite failure initiation at 77% failure load, and subsequently tracked stress distribution in the immediate vicinity of the crack as it progressed, demonstrating non-invasive stress and damage detection with multi-scale spatial resolution.


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