Brown's Chemistry Revision Notes -
Smart Materials and Materials Science
What are smart materials? Why are they so useful? Applications - what are they
ALPHABETICAL LIST of
materials, effects etc. mentioned on these pages: Smart
Materials Science INDEX * CARBON FIBRES *
MATERIALS * ELECTROCHROMIC MATERIALS
* GORETEX * HALOCHROMIC
MATERIALS * HIGH PERFORMANCE
POLYMERS * KEVLAR * LYCRA *
MEMORY ALLOYS * MAGNETOSTRICTIVE
MATERIALS * NITINOL *
pH SENSITIVE POLYMERS *
PHOTOCHROMIC MATERIALS *
PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS * PIEZO ELECTRIC EFFECT-MATERIALS *
MATERIALS * SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS *
SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS * SPANDEX
* TEMPERATURE-RESPONSIVE POLYMERS
* THERMOCHROMIC MATERIALS *
INTRODUCTION TO SMART MATERIALS
When something changes about a
smart material, it changes too!
Smart materials are materials
that have a property that can be significantly changed in a controlled way
by external stimuli.
The external stimulus causing
the change in the materials properties maybe stress e.g. bending or
compression, change in light intensity, a temperature change, coming into
contact with moisture, pH of a contact solution, electric potential
difference (p.d./voltage, electric charge effect), or a strong magnetic field.
This means smart materials change in response to changing
conditions in their surroundings or by the application of other direct
The induced change in the
property of the smart material might be in its electrical behaviour e.g.
its electrical resistance, its mechanical-structural properties e.g. flexibility or strength, optical e.g.
change in light transmittance, magnetic behaviour etc....
In a 'nutshell' smart
materials can change their state, and therefore their properties, in response to an external stimulus.
There is now a huge variety
of smart materials with different special properties that make a
particular material well suited to a particular specific use.
Other materials described on
this page are not strictly speaking 'smart materials', but they have been
included under the more general heading 'materials science'.
Examples of Smart Materials and 'smart effects' and other examples of 'Materials
CHROMOGENIC MATERIALS - Thermochromic, Photochromic & Electrochromic Materials
SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS e.g. Nitinol & Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys
SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS, pH and temperature sensitive-responsive polymers,
PART 5 High
performance polymers like KEVLAR
GORETEX, THINSULATE and TEFLON-PTFE
PIEZOELECTRIC EFFECT (PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS) and PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS
More on polymers
GCSE/IGCSE notes poly(ethene), poly(propene),
GCSE/IGCSE Notes on Nylon, Terylene
and A Level Notes on poly(propene)
NANOMATERIALS including carbon nanotubes, carbon fibres and silver nanoparticles
are on a separate page
More on chemistry applications:
Uses of 220+ chemical elements, compounds, mixtures &