Journal of Theoretical
and Applied Mechanics

35, 4, pp. 955-981, Warsaw 1997

Mechanics of intelligent materials

Andrzej Ziółkowski
Successive discovery and capability to manufacture elementary structural materials marked the stages of development of civilization. After Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age we are at present in the ''Composite Age'' and on the threshold of a new era of intelligent materials. The aim of the present paper is to define clearly what is understood under the concept of intelligent materials, which may be regarded as a particular case of more general concept of the intelligent structures. On the base of the selected representative literature it is intended to provide a general overview and definitions concerning the concept of intelligent structures, and intelligent materials in particular within the context of mechanical sciences. The paper is to serve as stimulus for new research and innovations as well as to indicate the problems arising with this new promising field. Different aspects of intelligent materials will be discussed; namely, their specific features, types of utilized physical effects, and most serious limitations. According to the commonly accepted view, the key features simultaneously present in any intelligent material are combined properties of sensing, actuating and controlling. The key target in development and application of intelligent materials is lowering total life-cycle cost of various engineering structures. This is attained by increased functionality and performance, simplification of design and manufacturing, and facilitation of structure maintenance and decommissioning.
Keywords: smart materials; shape memory alloys; piezoelectrics; intelligent structures; composites