Active (smart) materials

by / Wednesday, 01 January 2014 / Published in

Active (smart) materials are those that present crossed properties so that they re-act to a stimulus by changing a different property. They are good candidates for integrating devices and structures that can self-accommodate to changing external conditions and behave as smart devices or systems.
Those Materials include:Thermal (thermo-chromic, thermo-electric), Mechanical (Shape Memory Alloys and Polymers, thermo-elastic), Magnetic (magneto-elastic, magneto-resistive, magneto-optic, ferrofluids, Ferromagnetic Shape Memory Alloys, etc.), Electric (photoelectric, advanced piezoelectric materials), Multiferroics, etc.


Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys, MSMAs.

MSMAs are magnetic metallic compounds undergoing a martensitic transformation and reaching a self-accommodated variant structure. They are of high technological interest as able to develop up to 10% strains as a function of applied magnetic field. TypicalcompositionsincludeNiMn(Ga,Sb,In,Sn), FeNiGa(Al), CoNiGa(Al), etc. Our expertise in tailored design of functional materials at the macro- and nano-scale, including fabrication processes,characterization(structural behaviour, advanced physical properties, mechanisms of functions) and theoretical studies will position BCM as a world-leading centre in science and engineering of MSMAs and related magneto-structural materials.

Work at the BCM encompass the following subjects:

  • Development and optimization of high-performance MSMAs by precise tailoring of the composition and substructure (training).
  • Experimental and theoretical studies of the structure, phase transformation and functional properties.
  • Development of MSMAs thin films for micro- and nano-actuator applications.
  • Studies of the influence of the defects on the structural and magnetic properties.

Smart Polymers and composites

A responsive macromolecule changes its conformation and/or properties in a controllable, reproducible, and reversible manner in response to an external stimulus (solvent, pH, temperature, etc.). These changes can be used to developa large variety of smart devices. Smart polymers are easy to processand integrate in advanced functional devices (eg. All plastic electronic/optical sensors).

Work at the BCM encompass the following subjects:

  • Shape memory polymers
  • Block copolymers for nanodot generation
  • Hybrid Polymer/Inorganic systems for advanced applications such as conductive polymers, non linear optics, selective complexation
  • Active/Smart Hybrid surfaces for thin film sensors


Cross-section of  the recovery of PCO-3 + Surlyn 1705 15N hole with an applied temperature gradient from 25ºC to 95ºC at 2ºC/min



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