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Intelligent Materials. Edited by Mohsen Shahinpoor and Hans-Jrg Schneider

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Angewandte
Chemie
Intelligent Materials
Edited by Mohsen
Shahinpoor and
Hans-Jrg Schneider.
Royal Society of
Chemistry, Cambridge 2008.
532 pp., hardcover
£ 119.00.—ISBN
978-0-85404-335-4
Can a lifeless synthetic material be
intelligent? This book describes materials that react to an external stimulus—
such as light, an electric or magnetic
field, a change in temperature or pH—
by altering their shape or some other
response. These materials are therefore
described as showing intelligent behavior. As this is a highly interdisciplinary
field, it is not surprising that the different chapters are written by people as
diverse as the materials they describe.
Chemists from university and industry,
physicists, and engineers all contribute
to this collection of reviews. Top-down
engineering as well as bottom-up chemical concepts are represented. Commercially successful subjects such as liquid
crystals or piezoelectric ceramics are
treated only briefly in this book, as there
are specialized monographs on these
key aspects, whereas this book rather
focuses on the diversity of ideas and
materials. Owing to the vastness of the
subject of responsive (intelligent,
according to the title) materials, an
exhaustive coverage of every class of
materials is hardly possible. The editors
therefore decided to have 22 small
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 3088 – 3089
chapters, which introduce the reader to
the general ideas behind each type of
material. The many applications that are
described present a vivid picture of the
commercial status reached by some of
these responsive materials.
Generally, the main focus of the
book is on solids, polymers, and gels as
artificial muscles and actuators. The
other subjects discussed include relatively small molecular switches and
motors, unimolecular electronic devices,
and magneto-rheological fluids.
One particularly well-conceived
chapter dealing with the main subject
is that by one of the editors, M. Shahinpoor, which embraces the entire process
from fabrication and simulation to commercial applications. The chapter about
shape-memory alloys by L. McDonald
Schetky is almost exclusively devoted to
their many applications, and is another
highlight of the book. The chapters by
G. Kofod and R. Kornbluh about dielectric elastomer actuators are also compelling, covering theory, practical
design, and applications. Lastly, the
contribution by H. Asanuma also
deserves to be highlighted: he reviews
innovative composite materials, some of
which, among other capabilities, can
heal themselves if damaged.
On the down side, there are no
mentions of materials for sensor devices
or organic light-emitting diodes
(OLEDs), which should have been covered in view of their commercial importance. The reason for the strong bias
towards artificial muscles and actuators
is clearly the research background of the
editors. This emphasis could have been
included in the title of the book in order
to indicate the main subject. The only
significant fault of this book is the
repetition of detailed discussions of the
same light-tuneable rotaxane (with
identical citations and similar figures)
in three separate chapters. With careful
editing, this flaw could have been eradicated.
With so many chapters it is not
surprising that the literature citations
vary widely in number (between 7 and
236) and in actuality (up to 2007 in some
chapters).
The editors have compiled a useful
collection of cleverly designed materials,
whether or not they can be described as
intelligent. Although the book focuses
mainly on one field of interest, the
authors and editors should be complimented for successfully mastering the
difficult task of presenting such an
interdisciplinary field in one book,
which can be appreciated by a broad
readership of chemists, physicists, and
engineers. The question that potential
readers should ask themselves is
whether they are mainly interested in
the materials that have been designed or
in their intended applications. If one6s
interest lies in a particular application
that has nothing to do with artificial
muscles or actuators, rather than in the
actual materials or their characterization, this book might not make for
compelling reading. If, on the other
hand, one is interested in the main
topic or the materials themselves, this
book is a very intelligent choice.
Petra Hilgers, Alexander Riechers,
Burkhard Knig
Institut f=r Organische Chemie
Universit>t Regensburg (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200885578
1 2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
www.angewandte.org
3089
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