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GCSE Chemistry Notes: What are smart materials? and index of smart materials notes

Smart Materials and Materials Science

What are smart materials? Why are they so useful?

Applications - what are they used for?

 Doc Brown's Chemistry Revision Notes


INTRODUCTION: 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'.


Doc Brown's chemistry revision notes: basic school chemistry science GCSE chemistry, IGCSE  chemistry, O level & ~US grades 8, 9 and 10 school science courses or equivalent for ~14-16 year old science students for national examinations in chemistry topics including uses properties of smart materials



Sub-index of Smart Materials Notes

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

See also A general survey of materials - natural & synthetic, their properties and uses

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

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

NANOMATERIALS including carbon nanotubes, carbon fibres, silver nanoparticles etc.

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


Smart Materials keyword 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 A general survey of materials - natural & synthetic, their properties and uses


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

See also A general survey of materials - natural & synthetic, their properties and uses


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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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