||Oriol Gomis-Bellmunt, Lucio Flavio Campanile
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The seed of this book was set in 2003, at the Institute of Structural Mechanics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Braunschweig. Oriol joined the Institute as a Marie Curie Fellow and Flavio, as a member of the Center of Excellence "Adaptronics" at DLR. was in charge of coordinating the Marie Curie Training Site "Smart lightweight structures and transportation application". The "daily bread" of the Center of Excellence and, as a consequence, the focus of the Marie Curie Training Site. was solid-state actuation, in particular piezoceramic actuation. While working with solid-state actuation, scientists always encounter (sooner or later) fancy histograms or tables showing the comparison between different actuator principles on a quantitative and seemingly objective basis. After having seen such comparisons a couple of times, (and at latest after a couple of lectures or conference talks in which he shows such a histograms or table himself) the scientist begins to wonder what is behind those numbers, which claim, for instance, that the performance of Shape-Memory-Alloy actuators is, say, twice as large as the one of hydraulic cylinders. And since we could not find an exhaustive answer in published literature, we tried to compute performance quantities for conventional actuators on a model basis, in the way we knew from solid-state actuators. We realized soon that the designer of solid-state actuators lives in a quite ideal and comfortable universe, in which powerful design rules and meaningful performance quantities can be obtained, on the basis of simple assumptions, in a straightforward way. For conventional actuation things revealed definitely more complicated, and intriguing enough to be worth starting a research project. This project eventually became part of Oriol's doctoral thesis, and we kept working on this topic after he went back to Catalonia to get involved in СITСЕА-UPC and Flavio took a new professional challenge at Empa in Dubendorf, Switzerland.