Shape Memory Alloy

Shape memory alloy is a unique metal that can arrange itself into a specific form when heated at or above its transition temperature, in this case, 90°C. Heating the alloy to this transition temperature causes it to go from any shape back to its original shape. This original shape is obtained by heating the alloy to its annealing temperature (usually 500°C), then shaping the alloy and allowing it to cool. 

Model bones using shape memory alloy

Overview

Muscle Memory and Moments Activity:

LEGO arm with spring attachedIn this activity, students will get the opportunity to experiment with the properties of shape memory alloy by calculating moments and hypothesizing the shape memory alloy's ability to lift weight. Students will use their knowledge from the classroom to design and build a circuit as well as program the device to lift a weight to a specified angle and remain there.

Do It Yourself Stent Design Activity:

Stent using shape memory alloyOne application of shape memory alloy today is a stent. Stents are a medical device that are used to open up clogged arteries in the human body and allow blood to flow freely. Instead of expanding by a balloon catheter, stents made of shape memory alloy expand through human body temperature. In this future DIY stent design activity, students will experiment with different stent geometry and test how well their designs perform.