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Proceedings Paper

Smart temperature sensors
Author(s): Mohsen Shahinpoor; David R. Martinez
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Paper Abstract

This paper discusses the conceptual design of a family of specially-designed temperature surety sensors made with shape-memory alloys (SMA). These sensors are capable of detecting a one time temperature excursion or variance form a predetermined temperature range. The propose designs can also be used to detect a one-time temperature rise and persistence above a certain pre-selected critical temperature. In that respect, these sensors relate to a family of one-time thaw sensors detecting whether or not frozen food items or other frozen products or objects experience a thawing-refreezing process in their journey from point A to point B. The proposed sensor can also detect a one time temperature excursion into non-allowable temperatures for non-frozen food, as well as pharmaceutical or other medical products. The essential design of these smart sensor is a lever arm attached to an SMA wire whose temperature is initially below Austenite start temperature or well into the Martensite region. As a given product experiences an undesirable temperature range which pushes the SMA material into the Austenite region the wire contracts and moves the lever arm outside a display window area and exposes either a red working indicator or a graduated scale calibrated to the range of temperature excursion experienced by the product. The sensor is designed such that if the temperature returns to normal the excursion indication will not disappear, but will permanently shown the amount of excursion above the temperature surety region for that product. Several possible design variations are presented and discussed. The proposed embodiments include a rupture type thaw sensor made with short SMA springs or bellows, SMA foil roll-up type sensors, SMA wire-loaded shutter type thaw sensors, SMA torsion strut-loaded shutter type thaw sensors, multiple shutter SMA wire-loaded thaw sensors, multiple shutter, SMA torsion-rod-loaded thaw sensors, and rupture-Type SMA spring-loaded thaw sensors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 July 1999
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3674, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies, (9 July 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.351547
Show Author Affiliations
Mohsen Shahinpoor, Univ. of New Mexico (United States)
David R. Martinez, Sandia National Labs. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3674:
Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies
Jack H. Jacobs, Editor(s)

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