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Materials of the Future

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Materials of the Future

Smart Materials
9. Smart (or intelligent) materials are a group of new and state-of-the-art materials now being developed that will have a significant influence on many of our technologies .

The adjective "smart" implies that these materials are able to sense changes in their environments and then respond to these changes in predetermined manners--traits that are also found in living organisms.

In addition, this "smart" concept is being extended to rather sophisticated systems that consist of both smart and traditinal materials.

10. Components of a smart material (or system) include some type of sensor (that detects an input signal), and an actuator (that performs a responsive and adaptive function). Actuators may be called upon to change shape, position, natural frequency, or mechanical characteristics in response to changes in temperature, electric fields, and/or magnetic fields.

Four types of materials are commonly used for actuators: shape memory alloys, piezoelectric ceramics, magnetostrictive materials, and electroheological/magnetorheological fluids.

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