Understanding stress in piezoelectric thin films is key to their
design and optimization as smart materials, according to Nancy Scottos, a
professor of theoretical and applied mechanics at the University of Illinois
(Urbana, IL). She observed that the thinner ceramic films become, the smaller
their piezoelectric responses become.
Scottos and other researchers at the University of Illinois are
studying how stress builds up in piezoelectric thin films during their
fabrication process. "Shrinkage and densification during the drying and firing
processes cause stress," she says.
Scottos exposed thin films to varying amounts of mechanical
stress. By applying a small mechanical load in the opposite direction to the
tensile strength, they were able to relieve residual stress on the film.
Relieving the stress made the film's piezoelectric response 10 to 30%
For more information, write to the University of Illinois, Talbot
Lab, 104 S. Wright St., Urbana, IL 61801.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.