Innovative products can often only be realized with the appropriate intelligent materials. Today, components (and thus also the materials from which these components are constructed) often have to have more capabilities than just a certain structural condition (strength, hardness, toughness, haptics etc.) or optical properties (in the sense of surface condition). They must also have intelligent properties, i.e. have sensory or actuator properties. As a rule, this is achieved by materials that can change their properties through active control. As an example, these materials are able to change geometric dimensions, flow properties (rheology), electrical resistance or magnetic properties. Moreover, material properties can be changed by active control.
Examples of such smart materials are: Piezoelectrics, OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes), CNTs (carbon nanotubes), dielectric elastomers, shape memory alloys, electro- and magnetorheological fluids etc.