Characterisation and lubrication of tube-guided shape-memory alloy actuators for smart textiles

Tim Helps, Adithya Vivek, Jonathan Rossiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


Smart textiles are flexible materials with interactive capabilities such as sensing, actuation, and computing, and in recent years have garnered considerable interest. Shape-memory alloy (SMA) wire is well-suited for smart textiles due to its high strength, small size, and low mass. However, the contraction of SMA wire is low, limiting its usefulness. One solution to increasing net contraction is to use a long SMA wire and guide it inside a tube that is wound back and forth or coiled inside a smart textile. In this article, we characterize the performance of tube-guided SMA wire actuators. We investigate the effect of turn radius and number of loops, showing that the stroke of an SMA-based system can be improved by up to 69.81% using the tube-guided SMA wire actuator concept. Finally, we investigate how tube-guided SMA wire actuators can be lubricated to improve their performance. Coarse graphite powder and tungsten disulfide lubricant both delivered improvements in stroke compared with an unlubricated system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number94
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019


  • smart textile
  • shape-memory alloy
  • tube-guided
  • Bowden
  • characterization
  • lubrication


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