Smart Materials for Green(er) Cities, a Short Review

Pascal Nicolay, Sandra Schlögl, Stephan Mark Thaler, Claude Humbert, Bernd Filipitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The transition to sustainable or green(er) cities requires the development and implementation of many innovative technologies. It is vital to ensure that these technologies are themselves as sustainable and green as possible. In this context, smart materials offer excellent prospects for application. They are capable of performing a number of tasks (e.g., repair, opening/closing, temperature measurement, storage and release of thermal energy) without embedded electronics or power supplies. In this short review paper, we present some of the most promising smart material-based technologies for sustainable or green(er) cities. We will briefly present the state-of-the-art in smart concrete for the structural health monitoring and self-healing of civil engineering structures, phase-change materials (PCM) for passive air-conditioning, shape-memory materials (SMA) for various green applications, and meta-surfaces for green acoustics. To better illustrate the potential of some of the solutions discussed in the paper, we present, where appropriate, our most recent experimental results (e.g., embedded SAW sensors for the Structural Health Monitoring of concrete structures). The main aim of this paper is to promote green solutions based on smart materials to engineers and scientists involved in R&D projects for green(er) cities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9289
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 by the authors.


  • green acoustics
  • green cities
  • meta-surfaces
  • phase-change materials
  • SAW sensors
  • shape-memory alloys
  • smart concrete
  • smart materials
  • sustainable cities

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