Common name widely used for substances, structures, materials or systems which are designed to have a specific response to an external stimulus and be reversible upon removal of stimulus is smart materials. Basically smart materials are designed materials with more than 1 property which can be changed in a specific manner to an external stimuli and revert back to their original state upon stimuli removal.
The first recorded observation on smart material was seen in 1932 on gold-cadmium. In 1938, the second smart material transformation was observed on brass. In 1962, shape memory effect in Nickel-Titanium was transformed. Following these, several alloys and shape memory effects came into research and smart materials arouse in field of materials science.
Smart Materials have several names like intelligent materials, responsive materials etc. and they are of several types depending on their response like Piezoelectric materials, Photomechanical materials, Self-healing materials, Magnetocaloric materials, Thermoelectric materials, Chemoresponsive materials, Electroactive polymers, shape memory alloys and shape memory polymers. Polymorphs, ferrofluids, dielectric elastomers, optical fibers, graphene, carbon nanotubes and quantum tunneling composites are some of the modern examples of smart materials.
All over the globe, smart materials research has widened and intensified as they seem to find their applications in several sectors like aerospace, automobile, healthcare, construction, electronics, Mechatronics and so on. Taking for example, NASA’s Glen research center has been investigating development of shape memory alloys (SMA’s) for application as adaptive structures and actuators. SMA’s are alloys which can deform at low temperature, have memory and recover to their original shape upon heating. SMA’s have been ideal for high force, large stroke and modest frequency response operations. Recently a SMA has been developed to replace a traditional gearbox/motor actuation system. Several other applications where SMA’s can be applied are Adaptive structures, actuators, heat detection devices, medical devices, High-temperature automotive, aeronautics and military.
Smart Materials have come into picture, are being researched and hold scope to a large extent in our future. What’s your take on future and advancements of smart material applications? Let us know by writing to us at email@example.com