classroom style course
Different stimuli cause some materials called "active", "smart" or "intelligent" to respond with a change in shape and/or in length. The output strain can then be used to introduce motion or dynamics into a system. Depending on the stimulus-response-direction an active material can be used as both actuator and sensor. The applied driving forces can be broadly classified into three categories: Electrical fields, thermal fields and magnetic fields. Common materials include electrostrictive and piezoelectric ceramics, shape memory alloys, magnetostrictive materials, and electrorheological/magnetorheological fluids. A new class of electroactive polymers (EAP) emerged and start to find new applications in robotics and microtechnology due to their unique properties such as extremely large actuation strains. The course aims to get a better understanding of the different active materials field and their application to robotics and microtechnology. The course will start by introducing the working principles of the different smart materials. The different manufacturing methods and the best technologies to shape them to desired dimensions will then be covered. A comparison of the different active materials will be discussed revealing the advantages and limitations of each technology. Finally illustrative applications of the active materials will be presented. Part of the course will be taught by investigating into details different case studies.
The course is structured to appeal to a wide range of R&D staff and engineers from companies as well as research institutes active in the design, development, and testing of new structures and devices.