Introduction

“Materials that think” is a first-year engineering experience in which students create multi-functional materials by embedding polymers with sensing, actuation, and networked computation. All polymers are “off-the-shelf” materials from places like Sparkfun, JoAnn’s or McGuckin’s, focussing the class on engineering design principles that are valid across disciplines. After this class you will have a basic understanding of electronics, programming (via Arduino), design tools (Onshape), manufacturing (laser cutter, 3D printer), as well as the engineering design process.

Schedule

Labs

The class consists of a lecture and two lab sessions per week. The lab sessions consist of hands-on instructions on electronics and manufacturing techniques as well as a series of team projects:

  • Scavenger Hunt: Track down equipment, materials and other resources available at CU. Each team needs to track down a (overlapping) set of resources, and present their findings to the other teams.
    • Duration: 1 week
    • Deliverable: 12min presentation
  • Material properties worksheet: What is the function of a selected “smart polymer”/sensor/actuator (see below) and what are its main properties? Create a datasheet the rest of the class can use by collecting information from the internet and your own experimentation.
    • Duration: 2 weeks
    • Deliverable: datasheet (public Google docs)

 

Shrinky Dink (2014) Thermochromic tiles (2014)
  • Reverse engineering project: How does stuff work? Disassemble, analyze, re-build and promote an object of your choice, preferably something that contains interesting smart polymers or parts that will make your material multi-functional. All videos will be combined into a “crowd-sourced” mini-documentary.
    • Duration: 2 weeks
    • Deliverable: 1min video per group

 

How does a blood pressure monitoring device work?

 

  • Final project: Identify an everyday surface or material that can be made multi-functional by combining a smart polymer with sensing, actuation, and computation.
    • Duration: 10 weeks
    • Deliverable: Poster, 5min video, and live-demo at the Engineering Design Expo

 

S14: Thermocase – a cellphone case that changes color S14: Motus – a sole with built-in navigation S14: Flappy board – a skateboard that can be rolled up and jammed S14: Veni Vici – wireless transmissions using the Seebeck effect
S15: Snow stake – visualizing snow height S15: Jacket that regulates its temperature via smart fabric S15: Shoe that tightens itself up to a desired force
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lNtZApcrWw
 S15: Light-regulating facade  S15: A box that keeps its temperature  S15: A phone case that prevents your battery from dying in the cold
S17: A smart bike lock that requires power only when breached S17: Smart glass that can block out the sun S17: Fabric-integrated heart-rate monitoring
S17: Smart body armor S17: Smart wood veneer

Meetings

We are meeting three times a week: Monday 3-3.50 (lecture), Wednesday and Friday 2-4 (lab) in ITTL.

Teaching Assistants/Office hours

Venus Gonder, office hours Tuesday 9:30-10:30 and 1:00-3:00,  Thursday 9:30- 10:30 in the 3D printer lounge.

Course materials and Lecture Notes

Textbook

We are using the book “Introductory Engineering Design – a project-based approach” which is available online as well as from the ITLL main office.

Grading

  • Scavenger hunt: 5%
  • Materials worksheet: 15%
  • Reengineering project: 15%
  • Class participation: 15%
  • Final project: 50%

Materials Database

Polymers

Name Sample Properties Vendors
Silicone rubber prototype_irobot  Spring 2014 http://www.reynoldsam.com/
Polycaprolactone polymorph  TBD http://www.sparkfun.com
Acrylic acrylic  TBD  http://www.coloradoplastics.com
Urethane urethane TBD http://www.reynoldsam.com
Thermochromic camouflage Spring 2014 http://solarcolordust.com/
Conductive Rubber  conductiverubber TBD  http://www.adafruit.com
Conductive ink conductiveink TBD http://www.sparkfun.com
Shape memory polymer shrinkydink Spring 2014 Joanne’s

 

 Actuators

Name Sample Behavior Mechanism Vendor
Nichrome wires  nichrome Heat Current  http://www.jacobs-online.com
Shape-memory alloy  fearing Deform/shrink Current  http://www.teachersource.com
Vibration motor  bristlebot Vibrate Current  http://www.robotshop.com
Pump  bloodpressure Compress air Current  http://www.amazon.com
Light emitting diode  led_circuit Light Current  http://www.digikey.com
Peltier element peltier Heat/Cold

Current http://www.newegg.com
PDLC foil pdlc Transparent/Opaque

Electric field

Sensors

Air pressure pressuresensors I2C http://www.digikey.com
Light  RGB_Sensor  I2C http://www.adafruit.com
Temperature  thermistor Analog http://www.digikey.com
Bending flexsensor Analog http://www.sparkfun.com
Sound

 

Instructables

The instructables allow showcase a series of skills that might come in very handy when you create your own smart material, as well as developing your own processes that rely on similar effects.

 
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