Topics and main applications
Within the topic our members develop components for further development of production systems and processes. The main focus is on both long-life and robustness as well as on a high availability of the components.
Main application: Sensors and actuators close-to-process and self-adapting components
One major trend in production technology is the development of hybrid processes and self-optimizing systems. Here, the focus is on retrieving information as close to the process as possible and, furthermore, intervene close to the operating point as well. Thanks to their capability to structural integration, smart materials are predestined for applications in this field. Moreover, their material properties predestine them as self-adapting machine parts which react autonomously and self-sufficiently to changing environmental conditions.
Main application: Alternative actuators for components in automation
Conventional actuators like electromagnets are reaching theirs limits in terms of miniaturisation, energy efficiency, and dynamics. smart materials can push these boundaries and, thus, replace conventional products regarding their material properties.
Main application: Flexibility in production systems
Increasing individualization and decreasing production batches require growing flexibility in production processes. Actuator-sensor-components made of smart materials can complement and replace current components for reaching this flexibility. Thanks to their capability of miniaturization combined with growing functional range, they can interconnect components and tools. Thus, they enable direct ways of intervention in the production process and new ways in interface development.
The topic focuses on everyday products that interact with the user and have the potential to become part of the users's daily living environment. This includes lifestyle products as well as applications in building technology.
Main application: Smart consumer and lifestyle products
We aim at integrating smart materials into new product generations. Thus, engineers, designer, social scientists and entrepreneurs are involved in developing smart products. This also ensures a maximum acceptance of future products based on smart materials.
Main application: Smart buildings and building technology
Members of the network smart³ devlop products for energy harvesting and self-sustaining systems for increasing the energy efficiency in residential and industrial buildings. These systems are capable to adapt a building to changing environmental conditions or break new grounds in building design. Thanks to smart materials, this can be realized without complex sensor or actuator technology.
The main issue in R&D projects within the smart health range of smart³ lies in expanding the functional range of implants, medical devices and instruments. By integrating smart materials, actuator and sensor functions od the devices can be expanded.
Main application: Intelligent implants and appliances
Regarding medical engineering, smart³ puts emphasis on developing implants and appliances that facilitate the healing process actively as well as preventive appliances. By integrating smart materials like shape memory alloys a high degree of functional integration can be realised. Especially sensor (e.g. collecting data about a patient's condition directly at the implant) and actuator applications (e.g. active anchoring of the implants) are the focal point of development.
Main application: Intelligent instruments
Expanding conventional, passive surgical instruments by sensor and actuator functions also is a main R&D field at smart³ smart health. Thanks to the integration of smart materials into instruments, surgeons can get direct feedback of a patient's condition and thus, can act much more sensivtive.
Automotive, railway transportation and aviation are characterized by high degree on research intensity. At the same time, these industries are under constant pressure regarding implementing innovative functions and reducing weight and energy consumption. Smart materials meet these requirements and, thus, perfectly fit for the integration into new component generations.
Main application: Sensor systems and energy harvesting
In the field of mobility, smart materials are suitable, among others, for monitoring safety-relevant components via self-sufficient, linked sensor nodes. Smart³ strives to developing new generations of these components and, moreover, integrating these sensor nodes into structural components. Furthermore, piezo elements qualify for generating minor amounts of energy via vibrations occurring in vehicles or for reducing noise actively in vehicles.
Main application: Adaptive forms and surfaces
Thanks to their integration potential, smart materials qualify for actuators of adaptive surfaces, for example individually adaptable interior components. Smart³ project members develop innovative surfaces and components, using the advantages of smart materials.
Main application: Alternative drives
Mobility is characterized by increasing requirements regarding miniaturisation and function integration as well as lightweight construction and energy efficiency. Smart materials offer huge possibilities for leap innovation. Thanks to their ability to integrate function directly into the structure and their low weight related to performance, for example shape memory alloys create possibilities for new product generations.