January 05, 2003
Smart Materials Survey

Mechanical Engineering magazine has an interesting survey of a large variety of smart materials. The article covers such diverse materials as magneto-rheological fluids which become more viscous when a magnetic field is applied and piezoelectric materials that will be able to generate electricity from normal equipment vibrations. The article describes an electroactive flexible polymer one of whose neater applications is to translate the mechanical energy of a shoe hitting the ground into enough electrical energy to power a cell phone.

The system also can be used to generate electricity, by applying mechanical energy to the polymer. The film can be made to push the positive charge away from the negative, raising the voltage between the two electrodes, Pelrine said. SRI had one project to put such a device in the heel of a shoe, to generate power when a person is walking. Von Guggenberg estimated that enough electricity could be generated to power a cell phone—about one to two watts of power per step.

Another cool application under development is a biodegradable shape memory polymer that could be used to form a suture when doing endoscopic surgery.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 January 05 10:59 AM  Materials Advances

David Gillies said at January 14, 2003 3:43 PM:

One to two Watts of power per step? Some confusion, methinks, between quantity (Joules) and rate (Watts).

Randall Parker said at January 14, 2003 4:07 PM:

David, the same thought occurred to me. I'm guessing that they are saying that if one maintained a regular rate of walking that it would average out to 1 or 2 watts. Or maybe that is the peak. Hard to say.

ajay said at September 27, 2003 1:49 AM:

please send some information about basics of smart materials.

thanking you

Abhiram said at August 13, 2005 11:24 AM:

It is a very novel concept why not use it near door hingesor door stoppers.Hmm

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