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Interfacing Adaptive Materials With Micro Controllers

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

NEW Lab Experiments in Materials Science

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.817.1 - 10.817.5



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Paper Authors

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John Marshall

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Interfacing Adaptive Magneto-rheological Materials with Micro Controllers

Dr. John Marshall University of Southern Maine


Adaptive materials represent a relatively new branch of material science that is comprised of materials that respond with a change in shape or state upon application of externally applied driving forces. These materials often carry titles such as intelligent materials, active materials, or smart materials.

Many of these materials, such as shape memory alloys, develop enough usable force during their shape change to power small linear actuators and motors. Conversely, some of these materials can also be used as sensors where a strain applied on the material is transformed into a signal that allows computation of the strain levels in the system.

Rather than exhibiting a shape change, other smart materials demonstrate unique properties such as change of state. Electro- and magneto-rheological fluids, for example, can change viscosity over many orders of magnitude upon application of an external magnetic or electric field. This change of state has the potential to revolutionize the control aspects of vibration and the responsiveness of hydraulic power transmission. “The application of magneto-rheological fluids for damping is a unique and novel approach to an age-old problem”. 1

Magneto-rheological fluid is a responsive material that changes its flow characteristics when subjected to an electrical field. “Response, which takes only milliseconds, is in the form of a progressive gelling that is proportional to field strength. With no field present, the fluid flows as freely as hydraulic oil”. 2

Magneto-rheological fluids represent a technology that has the potential to widen the performance range of automated electromechanical and electrohydraulic equipment. Research and ongoing developments are refining this active material and experts predict an important future for these fluids.

Magneto-rheological fluids are important for many reasons. Current automation capabilities are not advanced enough to build a robot that could catch a ball. Even though cameras and computers could direct the robot towards a ball, robot's move in an awkward, lumbering fashion because conventional hydraulic valves cannot keep pace with the commands of the computerized controllers.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Marshall, J. (2005, June), Interfacing Adaptive Materials With Micro Controllers Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14916

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