National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Date of this Version



Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures, 11: 367–393, 2004


U.S. Government Work


Many electroactive functional materials have been used in small- and microscale transducers and precision mechatronic control systems for years. It was not until the mid-1980s that scientists started integrating electroactive materials with large-scale structures as in situ sensors and/or actuators, thus introducing the concept of smart materials, smart structures, and structronic systems. This paper provides an overview of present smart materials and their sensor/actuator/structure applications. Fundamental multifield optomagnetopiezoelectric-thermoelastic behaviors and novel transducer technologies applied to complex multifield problems involving elastic, electric, temperature, magnetic, light, and other interactions are emphasized. Material histories, characteristics, material varieties, limitations, sensor/actuator/structure applications, and so forth of piezoelectrics, shape-memory materials, electro- and magnetostrictive materials, electro- and magnetorheological fluids, polyelectrolyte gels, superconductors, pyroelectrics, photostrictive materials, photoferroelectrics, magneto-optical materials, and so forth are thoroughly reviewed.