Abstract

Adaptive, or “smart” materials, materials systems, and structures have been the focus of considerable research during the past twenty years or so, and have increasing promise for many different applications. We are here presenting a small sampling of some of the engineering-related research in this area that NSF has supported in the recent past or is currently supporting. We specifically focus on two diverse general topic areas with which we have been associated: civil infrastructure systems structures and engineered surfaces of materials. We make some personal observations on what we think are some of the emerging research opportunities and needs. A major driver for research in this area will probably be the search for various engineering “fixes” for environmental problems that our technology has created and the need for closer control with processes of all sorts. Development will be supported by advances in distributed intelligence, MEMS, nano-technology, digital simulation, modeling, materials science, etc.

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