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SMA Technology

Single Crystal

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS (SMAs) refer to a group of materials which have the ability to return to a predetermined shape when heated. The shape memory effect is caused by a temperature dependent crystal structure. When an SMA is below its phase transformation temperature, it possesses a low yield strength crystallography referred to as Martensite (see Stress-Strain figure). While in this state, the material can be deformed into other shapes with relatively little force. The new shape is retained provided the material is kept below its transformation temperature. When heated above this temperature, the material reverts to its parent structure known as Austenite causing it to return to its original shape (see Phase Transformation figure). This phenomenon can be harnessed to provide a unique and powerful actuator.

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