Design & Technology
Smart materials are reactive materials. Their properties can be changed by exposure to stimuli, such as electric and magnetic fields, stress, moisture and temperature.
Smart colours are pigments which can be incorporated into paints, dyes, inks and plastics.
Photochromatic materials are used in the manufacture of sunglasses. Exposure to sunlight causes the lens of the glasses to darken to protect the eye.
Polymorph is available in small pellets which fuse together when heated to 62˚C. It can be moulded into shape resulting in a very tough polymer. Unused pellets can be re-heated and re-used.
Polymorph is used for:
Smart grease is used to control movement, producing a dampened, slowed down feeling. For example, smart grease is used on volume control knobs and microscope slides.
Most plastics are natural insulatorsinsulator: Material that is a poor conductor of electricity or heat.. The advantages of making plastics which are conductorsconductor: An electrical conductor is a material which allows an electrical current to pass through it easily. It has a low resistance. A thermal conductor allows thermal energy to be transferred through it easily. are:
Some conductive polymers are also biocompatible [biocompatible: Can be safely used in the body. ], making them suitable for use in medical devices.
Nanoparticles improve the mechanical properties of a material, such as stiffness or elasticity [elasticity: The ability of a fibre, yarn or fabric to stretch and return to its original shape. ]. When incorporated into polymers, they can be used as lightweight replacements for metals.
Nanomaterials are used in car manufacturing to create cars that are faster, safer and more fuel efficient. They can also be used to produce more efficient insulation and lighting systems.
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