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Proceedings Paper

Effects of thermomechanical history on the tensile behavior of Nitinol ribbon
Author(s): Cynthia L. Lach; Travis L. Turner; Karen M. Taminger; Ravi N. Shenoy
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Paper Abstract

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) have enormous potential for a wide variety of applications. A large body of work exists on the characterization of the microstructure and stress-strain behavior of these alloys, Nitinol (NiTi) in particular. However, many attributes of these materials are yet to be fully understood. Previous work at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) has included fabrication of hybrid composite specimens with embedded Nitinol actuators and modeling of their thermomechanical behavior. An intensive characterization effort has been undertaken to facilitate fundamental understanding of the stress-strain behavior of this alloy in relation to its microstructure and to promote implementation of Nitinol in aerospace applications. Previous work revealed attributes of the Nitinol ribbon that were not easily rationalized with existing data in the literature. In particular, tensile behavior at ambient temperature showed significant dependence on the thermomechanical history prior to testing. The present work is focused on characterizing differences in the microstructure of Nitinol ribbons exposed to four different thermomechanical histories and correlation of the microstructure with tensile properties. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis were employed to rationalize the microstructures present after exposure to various thermomechanical histories. Three of the Nitinol ribbon conditions were reversible upon heating (in the DSC) through the reverse transformation temperature (Af) to transform the microstructure to austenite. However, the prior thermomechanical conditioning for the Nitinol ribbon that reflected the entire fabrication procedure was found to have an irreversible effect on the microstructure, as it remained unchanged after repeated complete thermal cycles. Tensile tests were conducted to determine the effect of prior thermomechancial conditioning on both the tensile behavior of the Nitinol ribbons and the stress state of the microstructure. The stress-strain behavior of the Nitinol actuators appears to be governed by the interplay between two major variables: namely, microstructural constituents such as the R-phase and the martensite; and the stress state of these constituents (whether twinned with low residual stresses, or detwinned with high residual stresses). The most significant difference in the stress-strain behavior of the four conditions, the critical stress required to achieve an initial stress plateau, was found to depend on both the amount and stress state of R-phase present in the initial microstructure. Thus, the effect of prior thermomechanical processing is critical to the resulting tensile behavior of the Nitinol actuator. For numerical modeling inputs one must take into account the entire fabrication process on the Nitinol actuator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4699, Smart Structures and Materials 2002: Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics, (11 July 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.474990
Show Author Affiliations
Cynthia L. Lach, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Travis L. Turner, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Karen M. Taminger, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Ravi N. Shenoy, Lockheed Martin Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4699:
Smart Structures and Materials 2002: Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics
Christopher S. Lynch, Editor(s)

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