Influence of test procedures on the thermomechanical properties of a 55NiTi shape memory alloy
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Over the past few decades, binary NiTi shape memory alloys have received attention due to their unique mechanical characteristics, leading to their potential use in low-temperature, solid-state actuator applications. However, prior to using these materials for such applications, the physical response of these systems to mechanical and thermal stimuli must be thoroughly understood and modeled to aid designers in developing SMA-enabled systems. Even though shape memory alloys have been around for almost five decades, very little effort has been made to standardize testing procedures. Although some standards for measuring the transformation temperatures of SMA's are available, no real standards exist for determining the various mechanical and thermomechanical properties that govern the usefulness of these unique materials. Consequently, this study involved testing a 55NiTi alloy using a variety of different test methodologies. All samples tested were taken from the same heat and batch to remove the influence of sample pedigree on the observed results. When the material was tested under constant-stress, thermal-cycle conditions, variations in the characteristic material responses were observed, depending on test methodology. The transformation strain and irreversible strain were impacted more than the transformation temperatures, which only showed an affect with regard to applied external stress. In some cases, test methodology altered the transformation strain by 0.005-0.01 mm/mm, which translates into a difference in work output capability of approximately 2 J/cm3 (290 in-lbf/in 3). These results indicate the need for the development of testing standards so that meaningful data can be generated and successfully incorporated into viable models and hardware. The use of consistent testing procedures is also important when comparing results from one research organization to another. To this end, differences in the observed responses will be presented, contrasted and rationalized, in hopes of eventually developing standardized testing procedures for shape memory alloys.
author list (cited authors)
Padula, S. A., Gaydosh, D. J., Noebe, R. D., Bigelow, G. S., Garg, A., Lagoudas, D., Karaman, I., & Atli, K. C.