This hands on course covers smart materials and actuation, with an emphasis on electroactive polymer (EAP) based materials and actuators, such as contractile EAPs, dielectric elastomers (DEAs), and ion-polymer metal composites (IPMCs). Piezoelectric materials and shape memory alloys (SMAs) are included in the course, as well as pneumatic actuation. Because smart materials and electroactivity are relatively new fields, the course involves literature reviews. Each team project will involve two different types of smart materials, where at least one smart material is electroactive. For the team projects, the class will be organized into groups, ensuring that each group had a mixture of different disciplines to promote lively discussion. Two papers will be required, one as a literature review and one about aspects of the team project. Much of the theory and applied research is yet to be done with smart materials, so this is a very creative course that implements design into the projects, which can include biomimicry.
Level: Graduate level, cross-referenced through the physical sciences and engineering, and available to upper level undergraduates.