Smart Materials and Structures – IOPscience

4 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Smart Materials and Structures – IOPscience

Smart

Materials and Structures

ISSN 0964-1726 (Print)

ISSN 1361-665X (Online)

Smart Materials and Structures is dedicated to technical advances in smart materials, systems and structures, including materials, sensing and actuation, optics and electromagnetics, structures, control and information processing.

Editorial news

The field of power harvesting has experienced significant growth over the past few years due to the ever-increasing desire to produce portable and wireless electronics with extended lifespans. Current portable and wireless devices must be designed to include electrochemical batteries as the power source. The use of batteries can be troublesome due to their limited lifespan, thus necessitating their periodic replacement.

In the case of wireless sensors that are to be placed in remote locations, the sensor must be easily accessible or of a disposable nature to allow the device to function over extended periods of time. Energy scavenging devices are designed to capture the ambient energy surrounding the electronics and convert it into usable electrical energy. The concept of power harvesting works towards developing self-powered devices that do not require replaceable power supplies.

A number of sources of harvestable ambient energy exist, including waste heat, vibration, electromagnetic waves, wind, flowing water, and solar energy. While each of these sources of energy can be effectively used to power remote sensors, the structural and biological communities have placed an emphasis on scavenging vibrational energy with piezoelectric materials. This article will review recent literature in the field of power harvesting and present the current state of power harvesting in its drive to create completely self-powered devices.

One-step dual-shape memory polymers (SMPs) recover their original (permanent) shape upon small variation of environmental conditions such as temperature, electric field, light, magnetic field, and solvent/chemicals. For advanced applications such as aerospace and medical devices, complicated, multiple-step, spatially controllable, and two-way shape memory effects (SMEs) are required.

In the past decade, researchers have devoted great effort to improve the versatility of the SME of SMPs to meet the needs of advanced applications. This paper is intended to review the up-to-date research endeavors on advanced SMEs. The problems facing the various SMPs are discussed.

The challenges and opportunities for future research are discussed.

Magnetorheological (MR) dampers are promising for semi-active vibration control of various dynamic systems. In the current MR damper systems, a separate power supply and dynamic sensor are required. To enable the MR damper to be self-powered and self-sensing in the future, in this paper we propose and investigate a self-sensing MR damper with power generation, which integrates energy harvesting, dynamic sensing and MR damping technologies into one device.

This MR damper has self-contained power generation and velocity sensing capabilities, and is applicable to various dynamic systems. It combines the advantages of energy harvestingreusing wasted energy, MR dampingcontrollable damping force, and sensingproviding dynamic information for controlling system dynamics.

This multifunctional integration would bring great benefits such as energy saving, size and weight reduction, lower cost, high reliability, and less maintenance for the MR damper systems. In this paper, a prototype of the self-sensing MR damper with power generation was designed, fabricated, and tested. Theoretical analyses and experimental studies on power generation were performed. A velocity-sensing method was proposed and experimentally validated.

The magnetic-field interference among three functions was prevented by a combined magnetic-field isolation method. Modeling, analysis, and experimental results on damping forces are also presented.

A great many living beings, such as aquatics and arthropods, are equipped with highly sensitive flow sensors to help them survive in challenging environments. These sensors are excellent sources of inspiration for developing application-driven artificial flow sensors with high sensitivity and performance. This paper reviews the bio-inspirations on flow sensing in nature and the bio-mimicking efforts to emulate such sensing mechanisms in recent years.

The natural flow sensing systems in aquatics and arthropods are reviewed to highlight inspirations at multiple levels such as morphology, sensing mechanism and information processing. Biomimetic hair flow sensors based on different sensing mechanisms and fabrication technologies are also reviewed to capture the recent accomplishments and to point out areas where further progress is necessary. Biomimetic flow sensors are still in their early stages.

Further efforts are required to unveil the sensing mechanisms in the natural biological systems and to achieve multi-level bio-mimicking of the natural system to develop their artificial counterparts.

Stimuli-responsive polymers (SRPs) are smart materials which can show noticeable changes in their properties with environmental stimulus variations. Novel functionalities can be delivered to textiles by integrating smart SRPs into them.

SRPs inclusive of thermal-responsive polymers, moisture-responsive polymers, thermal-responsive hydrogels, pH-responsive hydrogels, and light-responsive polymers have been applied in textiles to improve or achieve textile smart functionalities. The functionalities include aesthetic appeal, comfort, textile soft display, smart controlled drug release, fantasy design with color changing, wound monitoring, smart wetting properties and protection against extreme variations in environmental conditions. In this review, the applications of SRPs in the textile and clothing sector are elucidated; the associated constraints in fabrication processes for textiles and their potential applications in the near future are discussed.

The investigation of the conversion of vibrational energy into electrical power has become a major field of research. In recent years, bistable energy harvesting devices have attracted significant attention due to some of their unique features. Through a snap-through action, bistable systems transition from one stable state to the other, which could cause large amplitude motion and dramatically increase power generation.

Due to their nonlinear characteristics, such devices may be effective across a broad-frequency bandwidth. Consequently, a rapid engagement of research has been undertaken to understand bistable electromechanical dynamics and to utilize the insight for the development of improved designs. This paper reviews, consolidates, and reports on the major efforts and findings documented in the literature.

A common analytical framework for bistable electromechanical dynamics is presented, the principal results are provided, the wide variety of bistable energy harvesters are described, and some remaining challenges and proposed solutions are summarized.

The reduced power requirements of miniaturized electronics offer the opportunity to create devices which rely on energy harvesters for their power supply. In the case of wearable devices, human-based piezoelectric energy harvesting is particularly difficult due to the mismatch between the low frequency of human activities and the high-frequency requirements of piezoelectric transducers.

We propose a piezoelectric energy harvester, to be worn on the knee-joint, that relies on the plucking technique to achieve frequency up-conversion. During a plucking action, a piezoelectric bimorph is deflected by a plectrum; when released due to loss of contact, the bimorph is free to vibrate at its resonant frequency, generating electrical energy with the highest efficiency.

A prototype, featuring four PZT-5H bimorphs, was built and is here studied in a knee simulator which reproduces the gait of a human subject. Biomechanical data were collected with a marker-based motion capture system while the subject was carrying a selection of backpack loads. The paper focuses on the energy generation of the harvester and how this is affected by the backpack load.

By altering the gait, the backpack load has a measurable effect on performance: at the highest load of 24 kg, a minor reduction in energy generation (7%) was observed and the output power is reduced by 10%. Both are so moderate to be practically unimportant. The average power output of the prototype is 2.06 ± 0.3 mW, which can increase significantly with further optimization.

In this paper, a procedure for fabricating and testing a seamless spherical dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) is presented. In previously developed spherical prototypes, the DEA material is pre-strained by a rigid frame to improve the actuator’s output force; however, it is possible to pre-strain a spherical DEA by inflating the sample with a liquid or gas as long as the sample contains the pressure.

In this work, a very compliant silicone-based material was used to fabricate a nearly spherical balloon-shaped prototype. The DEA sample was inflated by air and various electrical-actuation regimes were considered. The performance of the DEA sample was studied using an analytical and a finite element-based model. An Ogden hyperelastic model was used in formulation of the analytical model to include nonlinear behavior of the silicone material.

Full statistical analysis of the experimental and numerical results was carried out using the root-mean-square (RMS) error and the normalized RMS error. The analytical and FEM results were in good agreement with the experimental data. According to modeling results, it was found that the DEA’s actuation force can be mainly improved by increasing the voltage, reducing the thickness, lowering the stiffness, and/or increasing the initial pressure.

As an example, a three-fold increase of the actuation force was found when the thickness was reduced to half of its initial value. This improvement of the efficiency suggests that the spherical DEA is suitable for use in several applications if an appropriate design with optimal governing parameters is developed.

We report the creation of a low flow rate sensor from PEDOT micro-hairs. The hairs are printed as pipette-defined depositions using a nanopositioning system. The printing technique was developed for fabricating structures in 2D and 3D. Here micro-hairs with diameters of 4.4 μm were repeatedly extruded with constant heights.

These hairs were then applied to produce a prototype flow rate sensor, which was shown to detect flows of 3.5 l min −1. Structural analysis was performed to demonstrate that the design can be modified to potentially observe flows as low as 0.5 l min −1. The results are extended to propose a practical digital flow rate sensor.

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