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IPTRADE Announces Smart Composites

July 13, 2007

The first commercially available structures incorporate multiple layers of piezoceramic wafers, enabling them to be high-fidelity structural strain sensors and high-precision strain actuators.

NEWTON, MA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- At its Newton, MA, headquarters, IPTRADE announced the completion of the development phase of the "first commercially available smart composite structure." The design and manufacturing effort for the patents-pending smart composite lasted for 18 months and was successfully completed with the help of our exclusive manufacturing partner, ARC Technologies, of Amesbury, MA. The smart composite structure incorporates multiple layers of piezoceramic wafers, enabling it to be at once a high-fidelity structural strain sensor and a high-precision strain actuator. Key technological breakthroughs include full compatibility with commonly accepted manufacturing practices for such composites as glass and graphite fibers in epoxy matrix, as well as extremely robust electrical connections to the embedded piezoceramic layers.

The newly available smart composites are expected to find use in the immediate future in a wide array of industries. Primary users are expected to be aerospace and high-precision manufacturing companies, including micro and nano electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS), integrated circuit, and liquid crystal display, capital equipment manufacturers. The primary uses of the smart composite are expected to be nondestructive testing and structural health monitoring, as well as precision control of elastic vibration.

The newly developed active composites feature an ultra-slim profile of less than 3 mm, good mechanical robustness, broad range of operating temperatures, and easy integration into even the most demanding systems. They have unlimited shelf life and when operated as sensors do not require electrical power. Rather they generate their own power in accordance with the direct piezoelectric effect. When operated as actuators, the smart composites require voltages of 50–200 V, with small current levels of up to 1 A maximum. A single smart composite structure can be configured and easily reconfigured for use as sensor, actuator, or both. One of the most advanced features of the smart composites is their ability to be remotely reconfigured from unimorph to bimorph configuration and back. This unique feature is enabled by the patented electrical connection system that allows each piezoceramic layer to be individually addressed through a configurable electrical bus.

Public Release at Semicon West 2007
The IPTRADE smart composites will be featured for the first time at the Semicon West exhibition in San Francisco, July 17–20, 2007. The demonstration will include the use of smart composites for structural damage detection and precision vibration control.

Further Development
IPTRADE and ARC Technologies are proceeding with further development and improvement of their smart composites technology in cooperation with selected customers. Further enhancements will be presented to the public at Semicon Japan 2007 in December.

IPTRADE is a registered trademark of IPTRADE Inc., a privately held corporation headquartered in Newton, MA.

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