Professor Diann Brei has been honored with the ASME 2018 Adaptive Structures & Materials Award. This award is presented to a member of the technical community who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the sciences and technologies associated with adaptive structures and/or material systems.
Brei presented at the ASME 2018 “Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures & Intelligent Systems” this past September in Texas.
Abstract: While technologies based upon smart materials hold many benefits for industry, it has been a long journey to transition these into real products. The field of smart materials and structures is viewed as “enabling” or “emerging” spanning either a) new markets where the products are first generation without a clear application and there is an absence of design models present so empirical developmental methods must be employed, or b) developing markets where there are a few guiding models/methods but the products are not optimized and not reaching their full commercial potential. Even though the fundamental science is present for many smart materials such as shape memory alloys or piezoelectrics, the technology and industrial infrastructure is limited. Specifically, there are little workable design models and tools, engineering data related to material uniformity/reliability and the effect of environmental factors, and use history. Most importantly, the workforce is unfamiliar with the field and how to incorporate and utilize the distinct responses of smart materials to provide competitive products with unique properties. There needs to be a clearer path to transition all the progress made during the past twenty years of research into fruitful commercial products, especially within high-volume, low-cost markets. This presentation covers the strides that our lab has taken to address these design and development issues for transition of smart material technology to production including 1) targeted material research necessary to mature it for productization, 2) design of disruptive technologies providing a commercial competitive edge, and 3), supporting design methods and tools for faster transition into technology. All of these are necessary for a successful business case. This talk will discuss these efforts from a technological design and development perspective with application examples from several industries such as Google Liftware, General Motors and FDA fast track MEND technology. The importance of collaborative, synergistic relationships spanning from basic research to device design into system integration will be highlighted as crucial for successful transition from emerging smart material research of today to competitive commercial products of tomorrow.