Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Design tool for materials with a memory

15.07.2009
Shape memory alloys can “remember” a condition. If they are deformed, a temperature change can be enough to bring them back to their original shape. A simulation calculates the characteristics of these materials.

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!
Further information:
http://www.iwm.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

nachricht Proteins imaged in graphene liquid cell have higher radiation tolerance
10.12.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Topological material switched off and on for the first time

11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs

11.12.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>