Recently, the development of smart composites, has grown rapidly due to the

requirement of an increasing safety margin of all infrastructure, biomedical and engineering

(automotive, aerospace and marine) elements. The name ‘smart’ means that a structure (or a

material) should be able to respond to environmental changes or external impacts to keep it in

a safe condition, without substantially changing its original functionalities. Research on SMS

has been mainly focused on embedding tiny sensors and actuators into advanced composite

materials. The main reason is because advanced composites have been widely adopted for

building large life-concerned structures, like airplanes (both Airbus A380 and Boeing 787). A

large portion of their structures are made by carbon and glass fiber composites. Most of the

rotor blades of helicopters are also made of advanced composites in order to reduce their

weight and keep sufficient strength to maintain their stiffness. However, these structures are

subject to many uncertain influences, such as excitation by unpredictable incoming wind with

a frequency close to the natural frequency of the structures, for example, blade–vortex

interaction. As a result, abnormal vibration and noise may be induced that is severely harmful

to the structures. In this special issue, several types of smart composites and devices that are

used for ensuring the safety of structures are introduced.

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Thu, 21/04/2011 - 02:01