The phrase “smart materials” emerged over thirty years ago to refer to class of materials capable of changing their properties automatically in response to an external stimulus. Despite the growing interest, Lux found that the term “smart materials” is too broad to be useful in solving commercially relevant problems. Instead, finding those solutions requires drilling down to specific material types and fundamentally rethinking how to build a product at the system and subsystem level. To aid our clients, we developed a classification of 16 major categories of smart materials, evaluated patent activity to determine the leaders in each area, and analyzed three case studies of both mature and emerging smart materials.
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