Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smart materials for high-tech products

14.03.2011
The droning of a car driving along the highway can be nerve-racking.

Often, a driver cannot understand the passengers in the rear seat, not to mention the pianissimo on the car stereo. Actually, though, there are ways to drive this disruptive vibration out of the car.

This is possible thanks to "smart materials" – intelligent materials that can tailor their own condition to changing situations with highest speed. The possible applications are diverse and promising – not just for carmakers but also for mechanical engineering and the electronics industry.

This is why 11 Fraunhofer Institutes have joined forces to create the "Adaptronics Alliance," making new, "smart" solutions marketable.

Piezoceramic bearings to counteract car noise

Vibrations inside a moving car are just one example among many. Researchers use piezoceramics, a material that transforms electrical energy to motion and conversely dampens vibrations by converting them to electrical energy. They are currently using an upmarket passenger car to test piezoceramic bearings attached to the vehicle between the chassis and a metal frame positioned atop the chassis. Normally, rubber components are used for this purpose, but they are not ideal absorbers of annoying vibroacoustics. As a result, vibrations are audible in the car in the form of noise. The piezo bearings, on the other hand, are electromechanical energy transducer devices, being electronically controlled to counteract and neutralize these bothersome vibrations. The result is a quiet ride. In another project, researchers are taking the opposite approach. There, they are developing piezo components that convert the oscillations in a structure – such as within high-traffic bridges – to electrical energy. This energy

can be used to supply tiny – energy-autarchic sensors that can monitor the condition of the bridge and notify a control center of any damage.

Hard, viscous or watery at the touch of a button

Piezoceramics are not the only materials that can be "smart." An alternative material of interest to Fraunhofer researchers are "magneto-rheological fluids." These fluids contain tiny particles that align themselves to form fixed chains in a magnetic field. The fluid solidifies. Depending on the strength of the field, the fluid is hard, viscous or watery. The Alliance partners have used it to develop a safety clutch for machinery – for use in motor vehicle drives or milling machines. During operation, the fluid is solid. In this state, it creates a solid linkage between drive shaft and cutter head. Activating the emergency shutoff button switches off the magnetic field. The substance returns to its fluid state. The drive shaft spins freely. The cutter head comes to a standstill.

Specialists from different disciplines work together in the Alliance: Material developers, structural mechanics, electronics specialists and system engineers assemble all of the findings to create a coherent whole. With the current economic upturn, industry experts expect to see additional products based on smart materials on the market in the next two years. "The technology is ready. Work is moving forward on other exciting solutions – from mechanical engineering to the consumer-goods market," notes head of the Alliance Tobias Melz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF in Darmstadt. At the HANNOVER MESSE, at a joint stand with other Adaptronics partners, the Alliance is presenting a variety of developments – including a table with vibration-damping bearings, an aircraft component with piezoceramic monitoring sensors and an upmarket passenger car with a smart interior.

Tobias Melz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lbf.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Fraunhofer ISE with over 60 Contributions at the European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
21.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018: Commercial vehicle model autonomously explores its surroundings
10.09.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells

21.09.2018 | Life Sciences

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>