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Basic Civil and Environmental Engineering (as Per Pune University Syllabus)

Basic Civil and Environmental Engineering (as Per Pune University Syllabus)

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Published by: sasha_st on Dec 25, 2010
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These are the materials which exhibit considerable changes in their mechanical properties like
strain (Deformation) and viscosity, when subjected to changes in thermal, electrical or magnetic
field changes. These properties can be exploited to develop sensors and devices which can respond
to changes automatically. Hence such materials are called as intelligent/active/adaptive materials
also. Currently available smart materials are:

1.Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)

2.Magnetostrictive Materials

3.Piezoelectric Materials

4.Electrostrictive Materials and

5.Electro-rheological Fluids.

Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)

These are the metallic materials which demonstrate the ability to return to some previously
defined shape or size when subjected to appropriate thermal change. Materials that exhibit shape
memory only upon heating are referred to as having one way shape memory. Some materials
undergo a change in shape upon cooling also. These materials are said to have two way shape

There are wide variety of alloys which exhibit shape memory. However for commercial
exploitation only Niti (Nickel alloys) and the copper base alloys such as CuZn Al (Copper-Zinc-
Aluminium) alloys are found useful.

Niti alloys have greater shape memory (up to 8%) compared to copper base alloys (4-5%).
The Niti alloys are thermally stable and have excellent corrosion resistance also. Copper based
alloys have medium corrosion resistance and susceptive to stress corrosion cracking. However the
advantage of copper based alloys is that they are cheap and they can be melted and intruded with





Magnetostrictive Materials

These materials undergo deformation when subjected to magnetic field. Most ferromagnetic
materials exhibit some measurable magnetostriction. The higher known magnetostriction are those
of iron alloys containing rare earth elements Dysposium (Dy Fe2) or Terbium (TbFe2).

Piezoelectric Materials

Piezoelectrical materials are the most widely used smart materials. These materials undergo
surface elongation when an electrical field is applied across them and produce voltage when
surface strain is introduced. Figure 3.1 and 3.2 show these phenomenon. The materials which





Fig. 3.1. Generation of electricity on application of pressure





Fig. 3.2. Change in the dimensions of material on application of electricity.

exhibit piezoelectrical property are non-metallic materials such as quartz, Rochelle salt.
Polyvinylidene fluid (PVDF), which can be easily formed into very thin sheet (film) and adhered
to any surface is very commonly used smart material.

Electrostrictive Materials

These materials are identical to piezoelectric materials, with better strain capacity but very sensitive
to temperature.

Electrorheological Fluids

Electrorheological fluids are colloidal suspensions that exhibit reversible change in viscosity when
subjected to an electric field. The property of electrorheological fluids of reversible transition from
liquid to solid state has been utilised in many engineering applications. These changes could be
reversed in time intervals of the order of milliseconds.


1. Aircrafts and space crafts are large structures which have to float in air. Hence they should be
as light as possible. When weight reduction is made from the consideration of only primary
forces, the problem of structural instability, excessive deflection and excessive vibration result.
The sensors and actuators are used to dampen the vibration and to reduce deflections. They are
fixed at optimum positions to control vibrations. The instabilities are sensed using sensors made
of smart materials. Signals are processed in computers and corrective forces are developed through
actuators which are made of smart materials. Figure 3.3 shows the method of building a structure
(plate or beam) so that they can sense and react to lateral instability.





Sensor Layer

Actuator System

Fig. 3.3. Sensors and actuators

2.Smart concrete is obtained by reinforcing the concrete with carbon fibres as much as 0.2%
to 0.5% of volume of concrete. Carbon fibres increase the electrical resistance to deformation.
Strain is detected through measurement of electrical resistance. Hence warning system can be
developed to detect flaws in concrete structure following the changes in intercondition following
an earthquake. This method of producing smart material is cheaper than the method of attaching
or embedding the sensors and actuators.

3.By providing highway with smart concrete it is possible to find the weight and speed of

vehicle moving on it.

4.Smart concrete is used to dampen vibration or reduce earthquake damage.

5.Smart concrete is useful in studying soundness of bridge structures.

6.Electrorheological fluids are used in clutches, values and engines.

7.Smart materials are used to develop safety, security and emergency control systems in

buildings and cars.

8. Smart windows having impact on heating, ventilation and air conditioning loads are
developed for use in buildings and automobiles.

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