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  • Shape memory alloy actuators with controller

    Deshraj Meena and Shovan Bhaumik

    Prior work on shape memory actuator

    A very brief literature survey is presented here. The first recorded observation of the shape memory transform action was by Chang and Read in 1932. However, it was not until 1962, when Buehler and co-workers discovered this effect in nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti), research into both the metallurgy and potential practical uses began. Within 10 years, a number of commercial products were on the market, and understanding of the effect was much advanced.

    In 2004 Jansen et al. developed a linear actuator used as a drive module in an angular positioning mini-actuator [Jansen 2004]. In the same year 2004 Strittmatter (figure below) proposed a shape memory alloy actuator for the activation of a hydraulic valve [Strittmatter 2004] . When an electric current is applied, shape memory alloy wires contract and cause a movable ange to shift; the ange possesses a shaft that transfers the movement outside the closing screw. When energy supply is interrupted, an outside spring, not shown in figure, pulls the shaft back and the ange to the bottom of the closing screw.

    Shape memory alloy actuator

    Figure: SMA actuator by Strittmatter 2004. Linear device composed of (1)closing screw, (2) shaft, (3) guide plate, (4) ange, (5) SMA wires;

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    Position control of SMA actuator

    On-Off controller

    Schmitt trigger