Nickel Titanium

Published : 01-01-2015 by : Kirtanananda Radhashyam

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Nickel Titanium, also known as nitinol, is a metal alloy of nickel and titanium,Nitinol alloys exhibit two closely related and unique properties: shape memory and super elasticity  (also called pseudo elasticity). NiTi alloys are well known and normally exploited for their shape memory behavior like in Couplings, Biomedical and medical applications, Toys, demonstration, novelty items, actuators, Heat Engines, etc.It has never been used in the aerospace industry .This paper proposes a new idea on how NiTi Can be used for space related applications .

Shape memory refers to the ability of nitinol to undergo deformation at one temperature, then recover its original, undeformed shape upon heating above its "transformation temperature". Superelasticity occurs at a narrow temperature range just above its transformation temperature; in this case, no heating is necessary to cause the undeformed shape to recover, and the material exhibits enormous elasticity, some 10-30 times that of ordinary metal.


The term nitinol is derived from its composition and its place of discovery: (Nickel Titanium-Naval Ordnance Laboratory). William J. Buehler along with Frederick Wang, discovered its properties during research at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1958.

While the potential applications for nitinol were realized immediately, practical efforts to commercialize the alloy did not take place until a decade later. This delay was largely because of the extraordinary difficulty of melting, processing and machining the alloy.

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