Welcome to the smart systems lab (Texas A&M University)



Have you ever observed a flower like a lotus blooming and wondered how it knows when the sun is up? Have you seen how a mimosa folds up so quickly when you brush it slightly? Have you seen a Sagaro cactus swell when it rains?

This lab is focussed on the theoretical and experimental study of such phenomena. Being engineers though, we tend to have a more practical bent and try to mimic this in artificial materials (with less success than we hope for, unfortunately). Our research is based on such ''persistent structural change phenomena".

+What is Persistent Structural Change?
The idea is that many solids (and many viscoelastic materials) can be made to change their external or internal structure by applying some stimulus. THe interesting thing is that for many materials, this change PERSISTS, EVEN AFTER THE STIMULUS IS REMOVED. This is what we are interested in.

The external stimulus can take a variety of forms.

  1. THERMORESPONSIVE: We can cause the structure to change by heating it and it remains when we stop (eg. Shape memory alloys and polymers)
  2. ELECTRORHEOLOGY: We can cause the structure to change by using electrostatics (typically electrorheological fluids and certain Piezoceramics)
  3. MAGNETORHEOLOGY: Caused by the use of magnetic fields
  4. CHEMORHEOLOGY: Caused by diffusion and chemical change (favored by plants). THis is typically slow but requires very little energy.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License