In the production world, now we need some ‘Intelligent’ or Smart materials which can change their property according to our requirement. Smart materials are one of the unique materials and their significant property can be altered, reversed or controlled under external stimuli. Their smartness can be characterized by its self-adaptability, self-sensing and self-healing. To be more precise ‘Smart Materials’ can be defined as the material which react to environment and the reaction can be exhibit as a change in volume, color, viscosity, odor. This response can be seen when there is change in temperature, stress, electric current, pH or magnetic field. Smart materials have a stupendous effect since discovery to present day in our day to day life through its application in smart infrastructure, to smart sensors, smart gadgets and vehicles. In this paper I have focused on the introduction, types of smart materials, characteristics and their properties and potential application in different fields, economic perspective and future of smart materials.
The incredible requirement and demand of advanced materials in our present time has led to the development of the smart materials. The smart material idea has been originated in mid of 1980s. Smart materials are new generation materials which is better in the conventional structural and functional materials. Smart materials are materials that have the intrinsic and extrinsic capabilities which will respond to stimuli when there are changes in environment. The stimuli could be originated from internally or externally factors. Smart Materials are controlled by their responsiveness to the environmental stimuli. They react to such changes in temperature, stress, moisture, pressure, light, electric and magnetic field. All this unique properties helps and makes smart materials to be useful for some modern applications that need by new generations.In beginnings, materials science has undergone a distinct evolution. The evolution happened from the use of inert structural materials to materials that built for a particular function, then to active or adaptive materials. Thereafter it finally evolved to smart materials with more recognition and reaction capabilities. New materials and alloys have satisfied the fundamental specification to enclose the last transformations.
TYPES OF SMART MATERIALS
These smart materials offer numerous of application in every field. Smart Materials can be grouped into five types. First type will be piezoelectric materials. These are the one of the most common type of smart materials. The structure made with this material can bend, expand and compress. Piezoelectric materials are the materials that has tendency to produce an electric current when they are placed under mechanical stress. This process is also reversible. If an electric current is applied to these materials, the shape will change slightly. Example of piezoelectric materials is Quartz, topaz, tourmaline barium titanate, lead titanate dry bone, tendons, silk and collagen.
Second type will be Shape Memory Alloy. Shape memory alloy is also a very common example of Smart material. Basically it has tendency to retain its original when external stimuli stress is subjected. Basically these material exist between two phase which martensite to austenite. Examples of shape memory alloys are nickel-titanium alloys, copper-aluminum-nickel and copper-zinc-aluminum.
Next is Magneto-restrictive Materials. These materials are subjected to change and alter their shape to magnetic field. This is also a reversible process. It is similar to piezoelectric material where the differences are piezoelectric material change due to electric field and magneto-restrictive field have the tendency to respond towards magnetic field.
Chromic Materials is also one of the types included in smart materials. Chromic materials have property and tendency to change their color external stimuli are applied such temperature, lights and electric field. In other word is also known as chameleon fibers. Examples of chromic materials are photochromic materials, thermochromics materials, piezo chromic materials and many more.
Other than above smart materials pH sensitive materials are also one of the types. This materials belongs characteristics to change color when there is different in the acidity of the liquid. Basically such types of smart materials are used to indicate the corrosion when it mixed with the paint. Examples are chitosan, hyaluronic acid, and dextran.
Magneto-rheostatic fluid is also compromise in these smart materials types. This smart material in which a fluid has viscosity and almost the oil will solidifies when brings into the magnetic field. The effects can be completely reversed just as fast as when it’s removed from the field.
The most common form of Magneto-rheostatic fluid consists of tiny iron particles which can suspended in oil.
Characteristics And Properties Of Smart Materials
Characteristics of Smart materials are which have the ability to respond in the environment which they are exposed. They are useful and usually happen in repetitive manner. It is also notify as, Intelligent materials, Active materials and Adoptive materials. It also have few responds which are immediacy (respond in real-time), transiency (respond to more than one environmental state), self-actuation, selectivity (respond discrete and predictable) and directness (respond local ‘activating’ event).
Applications Of Smart Materials
Due to varies response to external stimuli smart materials find a wide range of applications. To make it more applicable in commercial, production and many other fields the new technologies is showing interest in the smart materials. The properties of smart materials increase the chances more than the composites and the ceramics. Some major field of application of smart materials are:
In the field of aeronautics smart materials plays greast role and part. Piezoelectric actuators are used automotive structure to reduce the vibrations. Shape memory alloy used to control the spatial goal of the aircrafts. For example, reducing the shock waves and the breaking stresses of blades.
In Medical field
In medical field still investigations are being carried out for better results. The robot doctors for the surgery are interested in this field. Neurosurgical robot MINERVA is an example for this field. Certain materials like poly-electrolyte gels are being experimented for artificial-muscle applications.
In the Civil Engineering
In this field, they are used to monitor and to evaluate their durability. They also plays very important role in this field of engineering. Smart materials has various function in this field such as able to detect the cracks in concrete, to predict the waves in concrete and to analyze innovative seisemic retrofit of buildings and bridges.
In Nuclear industries
Smart materials offers wide range of application to the nuclear industries by enhancing the safety measures, life-cycle cost reduction and performance improvement.Smart materials in nuclear facilities requires knowledge based on the materials respond to irradiation and how this response is influenced by the radiation dose.
In current sitution, electronic and non-disposable waste is increasing day by day in all over the world. The radiation from this is also hazadorous for human being which has to be eliminate first. Smart materials can shook hand to solve this problem.
Reducing Food Waste
Food is the maximum waste among all others. Most of the food is thrown away without consuming due to the expiry date. These dates are estimates and actual product life may be longer. With aid of utilizing smart materials, manufacturers are looking for ways to extend product life with packaging . As food becomes less fresh, chemical reactions take place within the packaging and bacteria build up. Smart labels have been developed. The changes colour indicate the presence of an increased level of a chemical or bacteria in it. Storage temperature in products has a much greater effect.
The Economic Perpestive
Smart materials are used in various applications, such as transducers, actuators ; motors, and structural materials. The economic for smart materials is moved by the rise in adoption of smart materials products among various industrie. For instance, defense ; aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics and increase in R;D investment to optimize the cost and quality of smart materials. The demand for smart materials is high on account of potential growth in emerging economies as well as evolution in Internet of Things. According to the value chain of smart materials it has been observed the presence of large number of collaborators from the raw material providers to final end users.Each of them share a specific value of operation and in return they contribute to the competitive value of the product.
Future Of Smart Materials
Since smart materials have many applications in different fields and also the produce high demand it is enough to believe that there is a great scope for the smart materials in the future. This technology gives promise of optimum responses to highly complex problem areas.As an example, providing early signs of the problems and adapting the response to cope with conditions and help in enhancing the survivability of the system which improves the life cycle. By smart materials even the future of militaty applications can be upgrade and also can be delineated among them.
Smart materials are able to sense and respond to environment around them. Today, the most promising technologies for lifetime efficiency and improved reliability include the use of smart materials. We need to change our traditional material with the material that have smartness and intelligence. There are numerous type of smart materials but still wide range of researches is going on in the field of these materials to make it familiar in all the field. New and advanced materials to reduce weight, eliminate sound, reflect more light, dampen vibration and handle more heat will lead and definitively enhance our quality of life. Smart materials has vast potential application in every filed.