Process Optimization Key to Innovation in Smart Material Technology

Manufacturing smart materials is a complex process that requires significant control over the physical environment, sample size, interfacial diffusion, and mass transfer properties. Optimization of these processes in absolute terms is essential for long-term success in the industry.

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"To enable and accentuate the design and the exploration of new materials and properties, there is a need to improve synthesis and processing of materials," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Kasturi Nadkarny. "Researchers also need to focus on material modeling and advanced analytical techniques."

Tailor-made materials from complex arrangements of atoms and molecules that incorporate superior levels of precision and control are expected to enhance smart materials technologies.

The successful integration of the hardware and software based infrastructures is also set to accelerate technology development in the field of smart materials and systems.

High-throughput screening (HTS) consisting of hardware interface tools for technology assessment, decision control, and logistics has become instrumental for research into materials, which would have otherwise been neglected.

Technology spillover from drug delivery has led to the development of combinatorial chemistry methodologies. Although these methods are expensive, most smart materials are an outcome of one or more modifications made in the methodologies involving combinatorial chemistry.

Researchers are now combining combinatorial chemistry methodologies with nanotechnology to develop novel smart materials with higher performance standards.

"Nanotechnology brings with it the possibilities of designing, altering, and controlling material structure at nanoscale levels in order to enhance material performance and process efficacy," explains Nadkarny.

Nanotechnology is finding wide applications in varying products such as sensors and electronic devices, and promises to push smart materials technology into diverse industries.

However, scalability from the lab-scale pilot plants to the industrial scale is a significant challenge during the commercial introduction of a new smart material.

Nevertheless, the commercial potential of smart materials is irrefutable, especially in the defense, aerospace, healthcare, electronics, and semiconductor industries.

The automotive sector presents the largest near-term commercial market for smart materials. Researchers look to target unique automotive products such as smart glass for automobile windows that are capable of regulating heat.

The computer industry is also adopting smart materials for read/write head micropositioners and next-generation data storage devices. Many multinational corporations are also evaluating materials such as plastics, polymers, and ceramics for next-generation computer chips.

Global Advances in Smart Material Technology is part of the Chemicals, Materials and Foods vertical subscription service, and examines the latest advances in smart materials technologies. Apart from discussing the various drivers and restraints that govern the global smart materials market, the study covers developments at various universities, R&D centers at leading companies, and other research institutions in the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.

Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.

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