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Smart Materials are revolutionizing the industry

They are the materials which have the capability to respond to changes in their condition or the environment to which they are exposed, in a useful and usually repetitive manner. A smart material or an active material gives an unique output for a well defined input. The input may be in the form of mechanical stress/strain, electrical/magnetic field or changes in temperature.

Smart Concrete, Shapeshifting Metal and Self Healing Coatings

3 smart materials that are not science fiction “ A new type of smart concrete contains dormant bacteria spores and calcium lactate in self-contained pods. When these pods come into contact with water they create limestone, filling up the cracks and reinforcing the concrete. Self healing concrete is estimated to save up to 50% of concrete’s lifetime cost by eliminating the need for repair.” ”Shapeshifting metals can undergo great stress and temporarily change shape, but they are designed to ‘remember’ their original form and revert back to it if altered in some way. Used in the construction of a bridge, for example, would help sustain the bridge against damage from a hurricane or earthquake.”

The ‘bio-inspired’ materials that self-repair

A recent CNN.com article discussed U.S. based company Autonomic Materials and their development of self healing coatings being used on marine-based structures like ships and oil rigs. The coatings are made with polymers that innately react with one another when they rupture, creating a process of self healing.

Dynamic printed materials that can change shape by themselves

4D printing and digital materials. “Cutting-edge technology doesn’t always imply greater complexity. At least that’s what Skylar Tibbits thinks. The Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Architecture is pioneering work on so-called ‘4D printing’, creating dynamic 3D printed materials that can change shape by themselves when confronted with outside forces such as water, movement or a change in temperature.”

Airbus has already successfully tested the inlet in a wind tunnel

The potential is clear, as Christophe Cros, from Airbus’ Emerging Technology and Concept team explains. “Air vehicles have lots of air inlets for ventilation or thermal control that could benefit from this technology. We could also envisage extending the application to movable surfaces or even aircraft cabins to mediate pressure or make them more breathable.” read the article at www.airbusgroup.com 

FutureCraft 4D Shoes by Adidas

Proponents of 3-D printing have long talked about the possibility of using the technology to customize consumer products. That’s way Adidas, also jumped on the bandwagon and will sell “FutureCraft 4D Shoes” “printing sneakers with soles tailored to individual runner’s biometrics or to the quirks of each couch potato’s arches” Read the article at www.technologyreview.com


How Smart Materials are revolutionizing the building industry? Discover Skylar Tibbits, co-director and founder of the Self-Assembly Lab housed at MIT’s International Design Center during the last edition of EmTech France.

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