Smart and Advanced Materials

Smart and Advanced Materials, also called intelligent or responsive materials, refers to designed materials that have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, such as stress, moisture, electric or magnetic fields, light, temperature, pH, or chemical compounds. Smart materials are the basis of many applications, including sensors and actuators, or artificial muscles, particularly as electroactive polymers (EAPs). Smart materials are understood to show interaction with the environment. They are innovative and functional materials for industry 4.0.


1.Smart structures & systems
There is an ongoing need to increase the functional density in technical systems. Known electromechanical or electromagnetic solutions, however, have physical limits when it comes to miniaturization. This is where smart structures based on smart materials come into play, enabling an increase in functionality with simultaneous further miniaturization. This is achieved by merging function and structure at the material level to form a smart system. 

2. Process-related sensor technology
To minimize the reject rate in production processes, knowledge of the process characteristics is essential. The more precisely one knows the process and can determine data about the process, the more precisely one can control or regulate the process in real time. Smart materials make it possible to measure such process properties, e.g. forces, accelerations, temperature, close to the point of action and to make them available for process control.

3. Smart materials network
Connecting partners in the area of smart materials is crucial for the development of new and innovative products.  

4. Functional printing
The individualization of products is becoming increasingly important. However, today's production technologies are often adapted to mass production (automotive industry, cell phone industry, household appliances), often tool-bound and investment-intensive. Thus, it pays off only from a high number of identical products.



Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology


In order to determine the strategic orientation of the TIN, the partners analysed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they perceive associated to the topic of Smart & Advanced Materials, their organisation and the working partnership.