final project blog1 Smart materials are highly engineered materials that sense environmental events, process that sensory information, and act on the environment. These materials are able to “remember” configurations and can conform to them when given a specific stimuli (electric, stress, pH, etc). Architects have conceptually been trying to fit smart materials into their normative practice alongside conventional building materials. Smart materials, however, represent a radical departure from the more normative building materials. Whereas standard building materials are static in that they are intended to withstand building forces, smart materials are dynamic in that they behave in response to energy fields. The advent of smart materials now enables the design of direct and discrete environments for the body. The emergence of smart materials facilitates biomimicry, which is a field of study and imitation of nature’s methods and design processes. Mimicking nature’s mechanisms offers enormous potential for the improvement of our lives and the tools we use. Electroactive polymers (EAPs), and in particular, dielectric electroactive polymers, are one of the emerging technologies enabling biomimetics. Polymers that can be stimulated to change shape or size have been known for many years. The activation mechanisms of such polymers include electrical, chemical, pneumatic, optical and magnetic. Electrical excitation is one of the most attractive stimulators able to produce elastic deformation in polymers. A dielectric EAP actuator acts as a capacitor, where a thin elastomer film is sandwiched between two compliant electrodes. When a high DC voltage (kV) is applied to the electrodes, the arising electrostatic pressure squeezes the elastomer film in thickness and thus the film expands in planar directions. When the voltage is switched off, the elastic film returns to its original shape in an organic fashion. So far the composite has been used as electrostatic transducers, prosthetics, micro-air vehicles, braille displays, flat-panel loud-speakers. Within a two months period, this project aimed to experiment with the material, and propose a suitable application for it through a top-down approach. Finally settling down to the idea of using it as a tool to adjust the acoustic performance of building interiors by using sound as an input to manipulate the space within, creating an enhanced indoor environmental quality.   Sin título-1 Sound manipulation       diagramel When the two electrodes are polarized, they squeeze on the elastomer, hence increasing the surface area.   – EPA fabricaton: IMG_8542 Scissor mechanism stretcher IMG_8591 VHB Elastomer IMG_8572 Cut to desired size IMG_8575   IMG_8600 IMG_8577 Place on elastomer IMG_8607 IMG_8611 Stretch size uniformly IMG_8616 IMG_8557 Laser cut frames IMG_8620 IMG_8623   Reinforce edges of the frames with masking tape IMG_8638   Apply Carbon Black powder IMG_8644 IMG_8650 Add polycarbonate frame IMG_8703 Apply silicone evenly and consistently. The silicone layer will make the elastomer more durable and safe. However, the silicone affects the deformation and the actuation of the modules. IMG_8655 Cut the elastomer around the outside border of the polycarbonate frame frame. IMG_8670   Add copper electrodes IMG_8674 IMG_8682     – EAP Test IMG_1632 panel   morphing panel