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Special Issue "Smart Materials for Soft Sensors and Actuators"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Smart Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (27 August 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Youngsu Cha

Center for Robotics Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul 02792, Korea
Website | E-Mail
Interests: smart materials; energy harvesting; flexible sensors and actuators; fluid-structure interactions; robotics
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Maurizio Porfiri

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Tandon School of Engineering, New York University, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: dynamical systems theory and applications; mechanics of advanced materials; multiphysics modeling; smart materials and structures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soft active materials are emerging as a promising technology for sensing and actuation.  These materials display physical coupling in two or more domains, such as electrostatics and mechanics in piezoelectrics, while offering the important benefit of flexibility. These propitious features constitute an empowering tool of for new applications in science and engineering, such as wearable devices, artificial skin, artificial muscles, biomimetic robots, and soft robots.

In this Special Issue, we are interested in smart materials for state of the art applications in soft sensors and actuators. We hope that this special issue will be a seed for the new ambitious insight into the science and engineering of smart materials. Exemplary material systems include electroactive polymers, ferroelectrics, ionic polymer metal composites (IPMCs), photovoltaics, piezoelectrics, shape memory alloys (SMAs), and thermoelectrics.

We invite your original research articles about recent technological advancements in smart materials for flexible sensors and actuators. Our scope includes experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches.

Dr. Youngsu Cha
Prof. Dr. Maurizio Porfiri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • smart materials
  • soft active materials
  • multifunctional materials
  • electromechanical coupling
  • piezoelectrics
  • flexible sensors
  • flexible actuators
  • wearable devices
  • artificial muscles
  • artificial skin
  • biomimetics
  • soft robotics

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Noninvasive Mechanochemical Imaging in Unconstrained Caenorhabditis elegans
Materials 2018, 11(6), 1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11061034
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 13 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Physical forces are transduced into chemical reactions, thereby ultimately making a large impact on the whole-animal level phenotypes such as homeostasis, development and behavior. To understand mechano-chemical transduction, mechanical input should be quantitatively delivered with controllable vibration properties–frequency, amplitude and duration, and its
[...] Read more.
Physical forces are transduced into chemical reactions, thereby ultimately making a large impact on the whole-animal level phenotypes such as homeostasis, development and behavior. To understand mechano-chemical transduction, mechanical input should be quantitatively delivered with controllable vibration properties–frequency, amplitude and duration, and its chemical output should be noninvasively quantified in an unconstrained animal. However, such an experimental system has not been established so far. Here, we develop a noninvasive and unconstrained mechanochemical imaging microscopy. This microscopy enables us to evoke nano-scale nonlocalized vibrations with controllable vibration properties using a piezoelectric acoustic transducer system and quantify calcium response of a freely moving C. elegans at a single cell resolution. Using this microscopy, we clearly detected the calcium response of a single interneuron during C. elegans escape response to nano-scale vibration. Thus, this microscopy will facilitate understanding of in vivo mechanochemical physiology in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials for Soft Sensors and Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Fe3O4–Silicone Mixture as Flexible Actuator
Materials 2018, 11(5), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11050753
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2426 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, we introduce Fe3O4-silicone flexible composite actuators fabricated by combining silicone and iron oxide particles. The actuators exploit the flexibility of silicone and the electric conductivity of iron oxide particles. These actuators are activated by electrostatic force
[...] Read more.
In this study, we introduce Fe3O4-silicone flexible composite actuators fabricated by combining silicone and iron oxide particles. The actuators exploit the flexibility of silicone and the electric conductivity of iron oxide particles. These actuators are activated by electrostatic force using the properties of the metal particles. Herein, we investigate the characteristic changes in actuation performance by increasing the concentration of iron oxide from 1% to 20%. The developed flexible actuators exhibit a resonant frequency near 3 Hz and their actuation amplitudes increase with increasing input voltage. We found that the actuator can move well at metal particle concentrations >2.5%. We also studied the changes in actuation behavior, depending on the portion of the Fe3O4-silicone in the length. Overall, we experimentally analyzed the characteristics of the newly proposed metal particle-silicone composite actuators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials for Soft Sensors and Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Understanding the Thermal Properties of Precursor-Ionomers to Optimize Fabrication Processes for Ionic Polymer-Metal Composites (IPMCs)
Materials 2018, 11(5), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11050665
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 21 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract
Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) are one of many smart materials and have ionomer bases with a noble metal plated on the surface. The ionomer is usually Nafion, but recently Aquivion has been shown to be a promising alternative. Ionomers are available in the
[...] Read more.
Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) are one of many smart materials and have ionomer bases with a noble metal plated on the surface. The ionomer is usually Nafion, but recently Aquivion has been shown to be a promising alternative. Ionomers are available in the form of precursor pellets. This is an un-activated form that is able to melt, unlike the activated form. However, there is little study on the thermal characteristics of these precursor ionomers. This lack of knowledge causes issues when trying to fabricate ionomer shapes using methods such as extrusion, hot-pressing, and more recently, injection molding and 3D printing. To understand the two precursor-ionomers, a set of tests were conducted to measure the thermal degradation temperature, viscosity, melting temperature, and glass transition. The results have shown that the precursor Aquivion has a higher melting temperature (240 °C) than precursor Nafion (200 °C) and a larger glass transition range (32–65°C compared with 21–45 °C). The two have the same thermal degradation temperature (~400 °C). Precursor Aquivion is more viscous than precursor Nafion as temperature increases. Based on the results gathered, it seems that the precursor Aquivion is more stable as temperature increases, facilitating the manufacturing processes. This paper presents the data collected to assist researchers in thermal-based fabrication processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials for Soft Sensors and Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Depolarizing Fields and Screening Effects on Phase Transitions in Ferroelectric Composites
Materials 2018, 11(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11010085
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 6 January 2018
PDF Full-text (416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The temperature of the transition to the polar state in ferroelectric composites, representing spherical ferroelectric inclusions embedded in a dielectric matrix, under a depolarizing field effect is investigated. This temperature is determined both in the absence and presence of screening effects of the
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The temperature of the transition to the polar state in ferroelectric composites, representing spherical ferroelectric inclusions embedded in a dielectric matrix, under a depolarizing field effect is investigated. This temperature is determined both in the absence and presence of screening effects of the depolarizing field of the bound charges of spontaneous polarization at the inclusions surface. The absence case shows that the Curie point shift is determined by the ratio of the Curie constant of the ferroelectric inclusion to the permittivity of the matrix. Screening effects show that the transition temperature shift decreases through multiplying the value by a decreasing factor equal to the ratio of the screening length to the radius of the ferroelectric inclusion. Examples of the materials for the position of the Curie point on the temperature scale, largely determined by the tilting action of the depolarizing field and the compensating shielding effects, are given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials for Soft Sensors and Actuators)
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