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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 ) provides a nice overview of smart structures and materials.



  • Lead-Free Piezoceramics (NSF and DoE)
  • Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of Aircraft Structures and Wind Turbine Blades (AFOSR MURI, DoE STTR)
  • Structural Dynamics of Cable-Harnessed Spacecraft Structures (AFOSR)
  • Modeling Damping in Functionally Graded Multifunctional Hybrid Composite Materials (AFOSR MURI)
  • Unmanned Underwater Autonomous Sensor Nodes and Colonies (ONR MURI)
  • Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting (NSF/DOE)
  • Energy Harvesting for Powering Bridge Monitoring  (NIST)
  • Health Monitoring of Wind Turbine Blades (DoE)
  • Piezoelectric Grass (SAIC)
  • Energy Harvesting Methods for Unmanned Air Vehicles (AFOSR)
  • Combined Harvesting and Control for Aerospace Structures



  • United Technologies Research Venter
  • NASA
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research
  • Army Research Office
  • Office of naval Research
  • National Science Foundation
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency