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GCSE Chemistry Notes: What are smart materials

 Doc Brown's Chemistry Revision Notes

Smart Materials and Materials Science

What are smart materials? Why are they so useful?

Applications - what are they used for?


ALPHABETICAL LIST of materials, effects etc. mentioned on these pages: Smart Materials Science INDEX * CARBON FIBRES * CHROMOGENIC MATERIALS * ELECTROCHROMIC MATERIALS * GORETEX * HALOCHROMIC MATERIALS  * HIGH PERFORMANCE POLYMERS * KEVLAR * LYCRA * MAGNETIC SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS * MAGNETOSTRICTIVE MATERIALS * NITINOL * pH SENSITIVE POLYMERS * PHOTOCHROMIC MATERIALS * PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS * PIEZO ELECTRIC EFFECT-MATERIALS * PTFE * SELF-HEALING MATERIALS * SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS * SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS * SPANDEX * TEFLON * TEMPERATURE-RESPONSIVE POLYMERS * THERMOCHROMIC MATERIALS * THINSULATE *

See also nanochemistry keyword index: boron nitride * Buckminsterfullerenes-bucky balls * carbon nanotubes * fat nanoparticles * fluorographene * fullerenes * graphene * health and safety issues * liposomes * nanochemistry * nanomaterials * nanoparticles * nanoscale * nanoscience * nanosize-nanosized-particles * nanostructures * nanotechnology * nanotubes * problems in nanomaterial use * silver nanoparticles * safety issues * sunscreens-sunblockers * titanium dioxide



 

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 influences.

  • 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....

    • ... any of which change the way the material functions in response to the stimulus.

  • 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'.


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Examples of Smart Materials and 'smart effects' and other examples of 'Materials Science'

PART 1 CHROMOGENIC MATERIALS - Thermochromic, Photochromic & Electrochromic Materials

PART 2 SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS e.g. Nitinol & Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys

PART 3 SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS, pH and temperature sensitive-responsive polymers, Self-healing materials

Part 4 LYCRA-SPANDEX

PART 5 High performance polymers like KEVLAR

PART 6 GORETEX, THINSULATE and TEFLON-PTFE

PART 7 PIEZOELECTRIC EFFECT (PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS) and PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS

PART 8 CARBON FIBRES

More on polymers GCSE/IGCSE notes poly(ethene), poly(propene), polystyrene, PVC

and GCSE/IGCSE Notes on Nylon, Terylene and A Level Notes on poly(propene)

AND SEE ALSO NANOMATERIALS including carbon nanotubes, carbon fibres, silver nanoparticles etc.

More on chemistry applications: Uses of 220+ chemical elements, compounds, mixtures & Formulation chemistry

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These revision notes on smart materials should prove useful for the new AQA, Edexcel and OCR GCSE (91) chemistry science courses.

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