Materials expand themselves depending on the temperature or pressure; some materials deform themselves if an electromagnetic field is applied to them. These materials are called active or smart materials. Ideally, smart materials can change their color, stiffness, transparency, and shape responding to a signal. Every child knows an example of smart material: the monstrous troll, when exposed to the sunlight, becomes stone. Enchanted princess are transformed similarly, responding to the proper spell.
Variation of shape of a material can be magnified if differently expanded materials are assembled in a structure. The Classical example of this magnification is a bi-metallic plate. These plates that has been used in English chronometers starting from XVIII century to compensate for the high temperature in lower latitudes. Today, structures from active materials are used in switches, sensors, actuators, etc.
We list here types of active materials and the devices from them:
Thermo-elastic materials Fiber optic sensors Piezoelectric materials Magneto-elastic damping Magnetostrictive materials Electro-acoustic devices Shape memory alloys Photo-elastic sensors
We are working on the bounds of properties for active materials.
Several links with more information:
Intellimat: the world of smart materials.
Study of active materials:
Active Material Laboratory in UCLA
LUEC Electroceramics Research & Consulting Group.
Department of Materials, University of Leeds.
Software for active materials and structures
ATILA® CAD software for the analysis of structures based on active materials.
Production of actuators:
From mathematical viewpoint, there is a large uncharted fields that
new bounds, and other techniques developed for traditional materials.
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