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smart materials

Self-Healing Materials
Image: iStockphoto.com/agsandrew

Self-Healing Materials

A bridge begins to fail; it calls for help. A rock hits a spacecraft; the hole disappears. You are starting to get sick; your underwear lets you know.

A smart material is one that does something, by itself, in response to a change in its environment. For example, it heals itself or returns to a previous shape. Find out how many such materials there are, and how many more are on the way.

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Smart Fabric for New Soldier Uniform

Smart Fabric for New Soldier Uniform

Yarn in British soldiers' uniforms may soon carry electricity to wherever it is needed. Cut the yarn, and the current will take an alternate route. More...

Article
BBC
Clothes with Hidden Sensors Act as an Always-On Doctor

Clothes with Hidden Sensors Act as an Always-On Doctor

Soon your underwear may tell you if you're getting sick, your shirt could monitor your heart, and your socks could supervise your gait. Yet your clothes may not look "smart" at all. More...

Article
New Scientist
High-Tech Threads: Can Your Clothes Do This?

High-Tech Threads: Can Your Clothes Do This?

Cutting-edge clothing harvests energy from the sun, sound, and motion. A normal looking scarf notices you're having a bike accident, and inflates, protecting your head. More...

Article
Mashable
How Do Shape-Memory Alloys Work?

How Do Shape-Memory Alloys Work?

How do some materials "remember" and return to a certain shape? What can we do with this super-smart stuff? Check out this article. More...

Article
ExplainThatStuff!
How Power Felt Works

How Power Felt Works

Could your bottom power your car windows? That's one of many uses imagined for "power felt," a smart fabric that converts heat into electricity. More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
Nanotechnology May Lead to the End of Laundry

Nanotechnology May Lead to the End of Laundry

Why do some sci-fi characters always look spotless, no matter what happens to them? Maybe because their clothes clean themselves. And that's not sci-fi! More...

Article
Forbes
Play with Smart Materials

Play with Smart Materials

Can artists and other people without big labs with lots of money make things out of smart materials and find new uses for them? This TED speaker says they can. More...

Video
TED
Real World: Self-Healing Materials

Real World: Self-Healing Materials

A saw cuts through a new kind of polymer; a bullet blasts through it. But almost immediately it heals itself. See how. More...

Video
NASA/JPL
Science of Innovation: Smart Concrete

Science of Innovation: Smart Concrete

Suppose concrete could tell us it was about to break, even before cracks appeared. Actually, such "smart" concrete exists. See how it cries for help. More...

Video
National Science Foundation/NBC
Shape Shifters: Shape-Memory Alloys and Polymers

Shape Shifters: Shape-Memory Alloys and Polymers

It looks like an ordinary metal. You bend it. You twist it. Then you heat it, and it snaps back into its original shape. See for yourself! More...

Video
NOVA/PBS
Watch This Weird, Gelatinous Material Heal Itself

Watch This Weird, Gelatinous Material Heal Itself

Could this new self-healing material one day keep your phone or tablet free of nicks and scratches? Take a look. More...

Video
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