Component Management

Discover the materials shaping our future

18th February 2019
Alex Lynn

The materials search engine, Matmatch, has published a free-to-download whitepaper that provides insight into the rapidly developing smart materials market. The whitepaper, which is available from the Matmatch website, gives design engineers and product designers a glimpse into some of the most prevalent smart material technologies that could play a role in their future projects.

The global smart materials market is set to be valued at $73.9bn in the next five years according to 2017 analysis from ReportLinker. As Matmatch’s whitepaper explains, much of this growth is coming from greater research into smart technologies and the potential role that they can play in modern applications.

The whitepaper explains some of the most promising smart material behaviours. These include piezoelectricity, where mechanical stress on a material is converted into an electrical current, and chromism, a property of smart materials that change colour when exposed to light. It also covers some more specialist materials, like quantum-tunnelling composites that are best suited to pressure sensor applications.

Melissa Albeck, CEO of Matmatch, explained: “Smart materials are undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas of modern materials science. However, it’s also one of the most complex areas for design engineers and product designers to practically navigate. Since many smart materials are subject to ongoing research by materials scientists, learning the fundamental ideas behind these intelligent materials can be a challenge.

“Matmatch exists to simplify the process of design engineers researching, specifying and sourcing materials. Our smart materials whitepaper reflects this as it brings together relevant information about the materials of tomorrow, the behaviours they exhibit and the opportunities they present, in one easily digestible, downloadable asset.

“While the smart materials market is growing noticeably, many of the more promising material technologies and applications are still years away from becoming viable options for product design. At this stage, it’s important that engineers understand the basic principles of these materials to prepare for when they come to market.”

As the whitepaper highlights, one smart material type not yet fully realised is self-organising materials. While the idea of self-cleaning glass or self-lubricating metals for industrial bearings has been discussed since the turn of the century, Matmatch notes that many of these are still in the research and development phase, and so will become promising in the future.

To download the whitepaper, click here

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