Intelligent material systems, adaptive structures, and smart structures are all terms that refer to the integrated use of structures, actuators, sensors, and control systems which allows them to adaptively change or respond to external conditions. Examples of these mechatronic structures include buildings, bridges and roadways that can sense and control damage, aircraft that can actively monitor structural integrity, and automotive components that use active materials to reduce vibrations and enhance performance. Smart structures and materials integrate piezoceramic materials, shape memory alloys and other electromechanically-coupled materials into systems so that they can respond to their environment. CIMSS focuses on the theoretical and experimental research associated with smart structures. A recent PBS NOVA episode, entitled “Making Stuff: Smarter” (available at http://video.pbs.org/video/1786635771/ ) provides a nice overview of smart structures and materials.
CURRENT EXAMPLES OF CIMSS RESEARCH PROJECTS