Scientists Create 'smarter' Materials

WATERLOO, Ontario, Sept. 1 (UPI) — New “smart materials” could revolutionize the manufacture of diverse products ranging from medical devices to automotive components, Canadian researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have developed a process dubbed Multiple Memory Material Technology that could allow engineers to incorporate far greater functionality into devices, a university release said Wednesday.

Smart materials, also known as shape memory alloys, are well known for their ability to remember a predetermined shape.

The materials assume one shape at one temperature and take on a second “remembered” shape at a different temperature.

Until now they have been limited to change shape at only one temperature, but with the Waterloo process they can be given multiple different memories, each one with a different shape triggered by a different temperature.

The technology “makes smart materials even smarter,” Ibraheem Khan, a research engineer and graduate student, said. “We have developed a technology that embeds several memories in a monolithic smart material. In essence, a single material can be programmed to remember more shapes, making it smarter than previous technologies.”

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