The shape memory alloy (Shape Memory Alloy - SMA), are a family of metallic materials able to restore their original shape after being deformed, when subjected to an appropriate treatment, which may be thermal, mechanical or magnetic.
Currently are already being used in many applications and industries, robotics, medicine, civil engineering and aerospace example is not made much effort to think of new jobs.
But try to imagine the potential of a material that can take many shapes and different, could seriously revolutionize the current industrial production!
The SMA simpler, namely, those that resemble a form at a certain temperature, and a second at a different temperature, exploiting a phenomenon known since 1932, but especially in recent years thanks to the availability of higher quality materials, developed with numerous products for a multitude of applications, the existence of new and numerous commercial outlets has, in turn, stimulated the search triggering a synergistic process that makes the sector very interesting and dynamic.
Recently, there have been many attempts for the creation of SMA with multiple processing methods, but the realization has so far proved very complicated, expensive and fragile materials results.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have succeeded in developing a technology that enables multiple forms of memory that can be integrated into a single block of a monolithic material. Moreover, this technology can be implemented to locally modify the properties pseudoelastic.
This material forms with multiple turns in transition temperatures and predetermined structural configurations can be stored in distinct temperatures in specific points of the monolith. The process of recall of stored forms occurs by subjecting the material to different transition temperatures, so that each treated site will change its shape to its specific transition temperature corresponding.
The area of the transition zone can be limited to a few microns wide, and several prototypes have already been developed to demonstrate this innovative technology. In the following video you can see a shape-shifting robot with miniature limbs that change as a function of the increasing temperature, a process that takes place in several stages.
This patent-pending technology was developed at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, Centre for Advanced Materials, University of Waterloo, thanks to the research of Professor Norman Zhou and his collaborators.
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