Smart materials exhibit highly functional and changeable properties. They are usually embedded in practical engineering systems as sensors and actuators. They have the ability to change shape, stiffness, position, damping, fluid flow rate and other characteristics in response to changes in applied temperature, electric field and magnetic field. Currently smart materials include piezoelectric ceramics, shape memory alloys, magnetostrictive materials, optical fibres, electrorheological fluids, magnetorheological fluids, conducting polymers and so on.
By incorporating their intrinsic sensing and actuating capabilities into structural elements of vehicles, smart materials have found great promise in automotive applications. For example, General Motors have developed a shape memory alloy-activated louver system to control airflow into engines; conducting polymer-based sensors have been used to develop smart automotive seats; magnetorheological fluids have been employed to develop semi-active suspension systems to improve glide and handling. Driving comfort and safety are important issues in vehicle applications.
Automotive applications tend to require the high volume manufacture of devices at low cost with high performance and high reliability, even in harsh environments. To replace conventional systems or introduce new capabilities into automobiles, systems based on smart materials and structures technology need to add functionality, performance and adaptability without decreasing reliability, while marginally increasing cost and weight.
However, to advantageously exploit the capabilities of smart material-based sensors and actuators in vehicle technology requires multidisciplinary approaches to design and optimisation, where improved controllability, maintainability and extendibility are key goals. These issues are expected to be well-addressed by concurrent investigations.
We welcome papers that can demonstrate the innovative application of smart materials in automotive engineering. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
- Smart material process and mechanism studies for automotive applications
- Advanced vehicle control and multidisciplinary modelling to support the design of novel smart materials-based automotive components and/or systems
- New designs and analyses of smart materials-based automotive components and/or systems for improving automotive performance, for example in reliability, safety, robustness and extendibility
- Position/vibration/shock control of vehicles with smart materials-based components to improve driving comfort, handling stability and crashworthiness
- Field testing and evaluation of practical automotive application systems featuring smart materials
Manuscript submission deadline: 15 January 2012 (revised date)