Smart Materials and Systems


Concept of intelligent materials and systems. Most relevant physical properties for sensory systems and actuators. Classes of intelligent materials: piezoelectric materials, chromogenic materials, shape memory materials, biomimetic materials, electroreological fluids. Advantages and disadvantages of different combinations of the characteristics of sensors and actuators. Characterization of intelligent materials. Implementation of engineering solutions using materials and intelligent systems. Adequate selection of materials and intelligent systems depending on the application. Design and dimensioning of intelligent systems.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Rui Alberto Garção Barreira do Nascimento Igreja


Weekly - 5

Total - 94

Teaching language



not applied


K. Ohtsuka, C.M. Wayman, “Shape memory materials”, Cambridge University Press, 2002. MV Gandhi and BS Thompson, “Smart materials and structures”, Chapman & Hall, London, 1992. ISBN 0-412-37010-7.

DM Addington and DL Schodek, “Smart materials and technologies for the architecture and design professions”, Architectural Press (Elsevier Science), Oxford, 2005. ISBN 0-7506-6225-5.

V Srinivasan and DM McFarland, “Smart structures: analysis and design”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000. ISBN 0-521-65977-9.

Electroceramics AJ Moulson and JM Herbert Chapman and Hall.

Smart materials and structures, MV Gandhi and BS Thompson, Chapamn and Hall

Teaching method

classes are given in a room with slideshow. It is accompanied by practical demonstrations and troubleshooting as needed. Practical classes are given in the laboratory.

Evaluation method

For the continuous evaluation is compulsory of tests, one for each module, and the presence at the practicals.

The final mark is computed weighting the mark of each module according to the weeks taken for its lectures. eCrom-0.75;  eActivos -1.5;  LMF -1; eReol-1.75

To PASS one must reach 10 marks.

Subject matter

Module 1 (9 lessons) - Responsible: Prof. Carlos Dias Introduction to the concept of intelligent materials and systems - Physical properties most relevant to sensory systems and actuators. Advantages and disadvantages of different combinations of the characteristics of sensors and actuators. Intelligent material classes. Electroactive Materials (piezoelectric, piezoresistive) - Physical properties of piezoelectric materials. Piezoelectric crystals. Polymers and piezoelectric ceramics. Mathematical representation of the electromechanical coupling in piezoelectric materials. Harvesting energy. Piezo actuators and sensors. Piezo-resistive, electro-restrictive and magnetostrictive materials.
Module 2 (5 lessons) - Responsible: Prof. Pedro Barquinha, Chromogenic, electrochromic, photochromic and halochromic materials. Categories of electrochromic materials. Conductive polymers, organic and inorganic materials. WO3 transition metal oxides. Applications Thermochromism and materials. Windows and smart roofs. Preparation methods and characterization techniques.
Module 3 (5 lessons) - Responsible: Prof. João Pedro Oliveira Materials with shape memory - Shape memory effect. Superelasticity. Classes of metal alloys with shape memory. Alloys with ferromagnetic memory. Physical properties depending on the structural state. Damping. Actuation force. Design and dimensioning of systems based on alloys with shape memory.
Module 4 (8 lessons) - Responsible: Prof. Teresa Cidade Electroreological fluids - electro and magneto rheological fluids. Basic concepts of rheology: Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, viscosity and viscoelasticity, differences in normal stresses, flow curves and viscosity. Particular case of electroreological (ER) and magnetoreological (MR) fluids: composition of ER and MR fluids and effects of electric and magnetic fields on their viscosity. Applications. Polymers with shape memory - Polymers with shape memory. Shape memory effect (SME). Classification of polymers with shape memory (SMP) according to the type of stimulus applied to obtain the SME. Types of polymers capable of presenting SME. Examples and applications. Smart gels: what are they, how are they made, how do they work and what are the applications? Biomimetic Materials.
Applications (Practical classes) Each module will have practical demonstration classes. After the set of demonstration classes students must choose a theme to carry out a mini project


Programs where the course is taught: