This paper describes a new approach to analyzing the dynamic response of active material systems with integrated induced strain actuators, including piezoelectric, electrostrictive, and magnetostrictive actuators. This approach, referred to as the impedance method, has many advantages compared with the conventional static approach and the dynamic finite element approach, such as pin force models and consistent beam and plate models. The impedance approach is presented and described using a simple example, a PZT actuator-driven one-degree-of-freedom spring-mass-damper system, to demonstrate its ability to capture the physics of adaptive material systems, which is the impedance match between various active components and host-structures, and its utility and importance by means of an experimental example and a numerical case study. The conventional static and dynamic finite element approaches are briefly summarized. The impedance methodology is then discussed in comparison with the static approach. The basic elements of the impedance method, i.e., the structural impedance corresponding to actuator loading and the dynamic output characteristics of PZT actuators, are addressed. The advantages of using the impedance approach over conventional approaches are discussed using a simple numerical example. A comparison of the impedance method with the static and the dynamic finite element approaches are provided at the conclusion of this paper.

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