It seems like a magic trick. A man takes a paper clip and bends it in such a way that it merely resembles a crooked piece of wire.
Then, he throws the clip into a bowl of hot water. Within a fraction of a second, the metal wire returns to the shape of a paper clip. This phenomenon is called the shape memory effect. It can be observed in certain metallic alloys, known as shape memory alloys. These kinds of materials are ideal for many applications. For instance, in aerospace technologies: solar sails can unfold in outer space thanks to shape memory alloys.
The medical sciences, too, rely on their characteristics. One example is cardiology: stents are small tube-shaped, metal grid frameworks. They are folded together and inserted into blood vessels where they expand and prevent the vessels from becoming blocked.
However, it is a long road towards achieving a fully developed product. The characteristics of shape memory alloys are complex and therefore difficult to predict. Engineers must produce many prototypes before they achieve a fully operational component with the desired characteristics. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM have found a quicker way to reach their goal: “The numerical simulation which we have developed already answers many questions upfront, long before a prototype exists,” explains IWM project manager Dr. Dirk Helm.
With the help of these simulations, the scientists have developed various objects, including a minuscule forceps for endoscopy. Normally, such micro forceps can only be created with joints. How can a component be produced that has such small dimensions, is elastic, can be thoroughly sterilized and has no joints? The computer supplies the answer: with the help of numerical simulation models, the researchers could calculate in advance the most important characteristics of the component, such as its strength and clamping force, and efficiently develop and manufacture the elastic component. “Normally, many tests with various prototypes would need to be conducted,” Dr. Helm explains. “By using simulations, we can avoid producing most of these prototypes. This saves costs because the raw materials for the shape memory alloys are very expensive and are sometimes difficult to work with.” In addition, the researchers can estimate through simulations how durable the modern materials are.
Dirk Helm | EurekAlert!
In borophene, boundaries are no barrier
17.07.2018 | Rice University
Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters
13.07.2018 | Brown University
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering