Smart material

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Smart materials are designed materials that have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, such as stress, temperature, moisture, pH, electric or magnetic fields, light, or chemical compounds.

Terms used to describe smart materials include shape memory material (SMM) and shape memory technology (SMT).[1]


There are a number of types of smart material, of which are already common. Some examples are as following:

  • Piezoelectric materials are materials that produce a voltage when stress is applied. Since this effect also applies in the reverse manner, a voltage across the sample will produce stress withinsample. Suitably designed structures made from these materials can therefore be made that bend, expand or contract when a voltage is applied.

Shape-memory alloys and shape-memory polymers are materials in which large deformation can be induced and recovered through temperature changes or stress changes (pseudoelasticity). The shape memory effect results due to respectively martensitic phase change and induced elasticity at higher temperatures.

Smart materials have properties that react to changes in their environment. This means that one of their properties can be changed by an external condition, such as temperature, light, pressure, electricity, voltage, pH, or chemical compounds. This change is reversible and can be repeated many times. There are a wide range of different smart materials. Each offer different properties that can be changed. Some materials are very good indeed and cover a huge range of the scales.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mohd Jani, Jaronie; Leary, Martin; Subic, Aleksandar; Gibson, Mark A. (April 2014). "A review of shape memory alloy research, applications and opportunities". Materials & Design. 56: 1078–1113. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2013.11.084.