A paper which can conduct electricity has been developed by the researchers from Washington University. This paper is used to shift the LED backlight, to switch it off and on. Besides, it can serve as the alert system in case of the water leak. The water leak is a very serious problem in many cities and different manufacturers. Sometimes it takes much time to locate the problem because many pieces of a complicated network should be disassembled. This is particularly relevant for big companies which have an intricate and multilevel pipeline system. In the USA about 250.000 water lines break during the year. For public water utilities, it costs $2.8 billion annually.
Funny that the researchers got to know about such paper ability absolutely by chance. Drops of water fell onto the conductive paper which the team had developed, making the LED light indicating conductivity to turn off. Initially, they were afraid that they could destroy the paper, the team of researchers realized they had, on the contrary, developed a water-sensitive paper. When water falls on the paper, its fibrous cells swell up to three times their natural size. That increasing squeezes out conductive nanomaterials inside the paper, which for its part interrupts the electrical connections and makes the LED indicator light to switch off.
The process is absolutely convertible, and as the paper dries, the conductive network transforms so the paper can be used dozens of times. Because of its sensitiveness, it is really hard to locate this "smart" paper. Such ability is really precious for the oil and biofuel industries as they have to differentiate water from other molecules because water is supposed to be an admixture. The technical specialists in case of water leak will be able to solve the problem very fast as the electric signal is sent to the control center when the paper detects the presence of water.
Nanomaterials prices are going to drop due to to the development of the technology. Over the time the invention will become available and widespread. New technologies should not be invented to create such paper. Carbon atoms can be derived from any natural material if it is burnt and turned into charcoal. Such experiments have been already conducted on the banana peel, wood residues, and even animals feces. All nanomaterials might be literally produced from the garbage.