Shape memory polymers (SMP) and shape memory alloys (SMA) have both been proven important smart materials in their own fields. Shape memory polymers can be formed into complex three-dimensional structures and can undergo shape programming and large strain recovery. These are especially important for deployable structures including those for space applications and micro-structures such as stents. Shape memory alloys on the other hand are readily exploitable in a range of applications where simple, silent, light-weight and low-cost repeatable actuation is required. These include servos, valves and mobile robotic artificial muscles. Despite their differences, one important commonality between SMPs and SMAs is that they are both typically activated by thermal energy. Given this common characteristic it is important to consider how these two will behave when in close environmental proximity, and hence exposed to the same thermal stimulus, and when they are incorporated into a hybrid SMA-SMP structure. In this paper we propose and examine the operation of SMA-SMP hybrids. The relationship between the two temperatures Tg, the glass transition temperature of the polymer, and Ta, the nominal austenite to martensite transition temperature of the alloy is considered. We examine how the choice of these two temperatures affects the thermal response of the hybrid. Electrical stimulation of the SMA is also considered as a method not only of actuating the SMA but also of inducing heating in the surrounding polymer, with consequent effects on actuator behaviour. Likewise by varying the rate and degree of thermal stimulation of the SMA significantly different actuation and structural stiffness can be achieved. Novel SMP-SMA hybrid actuators and structures have many ready applications in deployable structures, robotics and tuneable engineering systems.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of SPIE|
|Subtitle of host publication||Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites|
|Publisher||Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Mar 2014|
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