A Review on Shape Memory Alloys with Applications to Morphing Aircraft

S Barbarino (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA), EI Saavedra Flores (Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile), RM Ajaj (University of Southampton), I Dayyani & MI Friswell (Swansea University)

Smart Materials and Structures, Vol. 23, No. 6, June 2014, paper 063001


Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) are a unique class of metallic materials with the ability to recover their original shape at certain characteristic temperatures (Shape Memory effect), even under high applied loads and large inelastic deformations, or undergo large strains without plastic deformation or failure (Super-elasticity). In this paper, we describe the main features of SMAs, their constitutive models and their properties. We also review the fatigue behaviour of SMAs and some methods adopted to remove or reduce its undesirable effects. SMAs have been used in a wide variety of applications in different fields. In this paper, we focus on the use of shape memory alloys in the context of morphing aircraft, with particular emphasis on variable twist and camber, and also on actuation bandwidth and reduction of the power consumption. These applications prove particularly challenging because novel configurations are adopted to maximise integration and effectiveness of SMAs, which play the role of an actuator (using Shape Memory effect) often combined with structural, load-carrying capabilities. Iterative and multi-disciplinary modeling is therefore necessary due to the fluid-structure interaction combined with the non-linear behavior of SMAs.

Paper Availability

This material has been published in the Journal of Smart Materials and Structures, Vol. 23, No. 6, June 2014, paper 063001, the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by the Institute of Physics.

Link to paper using doi: 10.1088/0964-1726/23/6/063001

Smart Materials and Structures

The Institute of Physics