About this online course


Smart Structures may very well lead the way to the next breakthrough and major technological advancements in aerospace. They are now on the verge of becoming an iconic technology that pushes the boundaries of aviation. Applying smart structures to aerospace engineering requires a new way of thinking in terms of integration, as they are multidisciplinary and multifunctional.

This course will provide you with an overview, relevance and important aspects of smart structures such that you can identify which areas of knowledge are important and apply it to your professional activities.

Way of engineering and design
Through this course you will learn how smart structures impact the technological advancements of the future. It is for innovative professionals who are mainly active in the aerospace industry. However, professionals who work in the civil, mechanical and materials industry can also benefit from this course.

You will get an overview of the smart structures research and technology area during the course, as well as an introduction to this "way of engineering and design". The course will go into the different disciplines of the Smart Structures research areas, from presenting smart materials, to integrating them into multifunctional and morphing materials, while also moving towards the integration of these smart structures and materials into controlled systems.

Finally, all these disciplines will be synthesized into the last module, the design module. The aim there is to go through a smart structures project from A to Z and explain the different disciplines involved, the choices made and the integration of different smart technologies into the final product. Given the short duration of the course, the content is restricted to a helicopter view rather than going into the very details of every sub field of smart structures.

At the end of the course, you will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of smart structures concepts and you will know how to move forward in this challenging field of technology and science. You will also be introduced to how smart structures are already being implemented in real life, by different companies and institutes, such as NASA.

The course will be taught online using pre-recorded videos and relevant literature. There will be small assignments during the course which will be discussed during live online sessions. Furthermore, there will be weekly live online Q&A sessions. You can access the discussion forums and the course materials anytime and interaction will take place using closed groups on social media.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply smart structures to real-world examples.
  • Explain the field of smart structures and its relevant disciplines.
  • Explain why the field is relevant for the future of aerospace engineering.
  • Identify and recognize the difference between smart structures and "classical structures".
  • Classify the relevance of a discipline for a particular smart structure.
  • Integrate a subset of the relevant disciplines into a smart structure on a basic level.

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Course Syllabus

Getting started
In the getting started section you'll get to know the course structure, get familiarized with the virtual learning environment, complete your profile, meet your fellow students and the e-moderator. These introductory tasks should be completed in the beginning of the course, after your first login.

Unit 1. Introduction to smart structures
In this first week, we will introduce the classification of smart structures and discuss their history and relevance. A morphing chevron will be used as a real-world example.

Unit 2. Smart materials
In this unit, we will discuss piezo-electric materials and shape memory alloys.

Unit 3. Smart integrated materials and structures
In unit three, we will discuss multi-functional smart materials and morphing materials. As an example we will use a morphing skin.

Unit 4. Actuation, sensing and control
In this unit we are taking a look at smart actuators, sensors and control. We will show an example of an autonomous free floating flap.

Unit 5. Morphing structures
In unit five we will look at morphing structures. The morphing leading edge will be used as an example.

Unit 6. Integration: Smart structures design
In this final unit we will integrate our knowledge about smart structures.


Assessment is based on several assignments. No final exam. There will be 4 assignments during the extent of the course which will be introduced in the courseware and discussed during live online sessions (each week via 'Google Hangout'). The course is finalised with one larger case study as a final assessment. There is no specific software required for the assignments other than MS Office tools.

The lecturers and e-Moderators will guide you throughout the course, launching the weekly content, promoting and engaging in discussions, and providing feedback regarding your performance after each week. Guidance and support will happen on a regular basis, mainly every day. After every assignment you will receive personal written feedback, before the next assignment is due.

Literature & Study Materials

You will be given access to all the relevant literature in Smart Structures during the course. There is no software needed for this course.


Certificates and CEUs

Professional education course with verified certificate.

The TU Delft Extension School offers Continuing Education Units for this course. Participants who successfully complete the course requirements will earn a Certificate of Completion and are eligible to receive 3.0 Continuing Education Units (3.0 CEUs).


This course is primarily geared towards working professionals.

Expected prior knowledge

A BSc in Aerospace, Civil or Mechanical Engineering, or equivalent.


If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please visit our Help & Support page.

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  • Starts: Future dates to be announced
  • Fee: €695
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Effort: 5 - 6 hours per week

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