In recent years the field of smart structures, including sensing and control, has been growing at an extraordinary rate. As of today, however, there has been relatively little work performed in applying this technology for monitoring and control of offshore and marine structures. In offshore environment, structures are subjected to critical loading cycles (e.g., wave action, temperature changes, and heavily corrosive environment to name a few), unparalleled to those in any other environment. With the costs that are associated with the manufacturing of marine vessels and structures, and their day-to-day operations and maintenance cost, the selection of an effective method of monitoring their performance and integrity, as well as their control is of paramount importance. In this paper, we will present a brief, yet detailed description of the different smart materials that are available for structural monitoring and control, such as electrorheological fluids, shape memory alloys, fiber optics, piezoelectrics, and magnetostrictives. We will also discuss the applications of these materials, including their advantages and shortfalls. The outlined discussion will help the reader to select the most optimum smart material for a given application. The paper will further discuss an ongoing investigation of a piezoelectric system that is currently being developed for implementation into fiber-reinforced composite panels used in marine vessel applications.

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