Basis Of Smart Materials
- New consumer products are designed using smart & modern materials often making the easier or safer to use.
- You need to know their main characteristics & their applications.
- Smart Materials change physically in a response to an input.eg. When they are warmed they become soft & pliable.
- Some Smart Materials can also be called “Modern Materials” because they have only been around since the 60’s or 70’s.
- But not all “Modern Materials” can be called smart because they do not change physically to an input.
- Change colour in response to heat.
- The Thermocolour Kettle.
- Baby feeding bowls, spoons, cups etc.
- Thermocolour film thermometers, battery test strips.
Thermochromic Pigments used in Packaging
- Video game featuring UV Screen thermochromic ink on the cover.
- Black thermochromic ink disappears when activated, revealing graphics printed in conventional ink.
- Thermochromic interactive ink is ideal for multi-media packaging.
- Absorb large amounts of light.
- Mixed with acrylic paints to produce glow in the dark signs, clock faces & hands,that can be seen 24 hours a day.
Shape memory alloy
- Nitinol an alloy of nickel & titanium.
- When a current is passed through the SMA it gets smaller by 5%. When the current is switched off it resumes its original length.
- Used in bioengineering & spectacles.
- When a quartz crystal is compressed a small electric charge is produced.
- Used in spark igniters and movement sensors.
- Conversely when a voltage is applied the quartz crystal pulses a small amount.
- Used in quartz time pieces & micro positioning applications.
Modern Materials Fibre optics
- Glass fibres or strands are capable of transmitting information over long distances very quickly.
- When multiplexed one fibre can replace hundreds of copper cables.
- Used to telecommunications, radio, telephones.
Liquid crystal displays
- Alphanumeric displays in calculators, electronic dictionaries, mobile phones, PDA’s & laptops.
- In their normal positions the crystals allow light to pass through, but when a small voltage is applied their orientation changes blocking out the light.
Engineering Timbers - Glulam
- Laminating large span beams, straight & curved made to measure.
- Large spans can be factory made & transported to site.
- Defect free timber is glued together and end glued to make long thick laminated pieces.
- Small sectioned timber that would normally go waste can be used, so it has some environmental benefit.
- D block is built using glulam.
Anodised Aluminium Sheet
- Aluminium sheet can be plated with coloured pigments.
- This can be engraved using laser cutters.
Coated Metals -
- Metals can be coated with polymers (PP & PET) either for decoration or protection.
- Packing examples include food & soft drinks cans and paint & varnish containers.
- Nickel coated steels are used to protect the surface from corrosion in brake pipes & car suspension parts.
- Aluminium can be foamed in much the same way as polystyrene to give a lightweight yet rigid material that can be sandwiched between 2 other aluminium sheets.
- This gives high impact resistance and can be used in vehicle design and military applications.
- It can also be used to filter liquids.
- Polymorph as all the characteristics of a tough engineering material yet fuses and becomes mouldable at just 62°C. It can be heated with hot water or even a hair dryer and then moulded by hand.
- Used in gum shields & modelling of handles & orthopaedic aids.
- Flexible MDF – Grooved MDF which can be bent into curved shapes.
- Flexible Plywood – 3 layers, middle layer is much thinner than the 2 outer open grained layers. Can be bent into curved shapes.
- Aeroply - Very thin flexible high grade plywood.
- Maplex - used as an MDF substitute without the potentially harmful resins.
- Hexaboard – Exterior quality birch ply with a hard phenolic resin coating which has been embossed with an hexagonal pattern so it can be used as a walkway stages, aircraft, factories, vans etc.