Engineers in Germany are working on intelligent materials that can diminish vibrations and extract power from the environment. These electro-active elastomers could dampen annoying vibrations in a vehicle, for example, or supply wireless power to sensors in otherwise inaccessible places.
A team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF (Darmstadt) is designing components made of such elastomers that actively respond to unwanted vibrations, and dampen them more effectively than ever before.
Elastomers have been used in engineering for decades, such as in shock absorbers and vehicle engine mounts. Until now, they have had a purely passive effect on vibrations or impact collisions.