Tuesday, July 23, 2002

shape-memory devices

according to the ny times, 'shape-memory' alloys are finally going to market. "nitinol's shape memory is a chacteristic of a small family of materials whose molecular arrangement changes sharply with temperature. They can be heated and formed into one shape, then cooled to form a second shape. After that, a material like nitinol will "remember" the higher-temperature shape, and revert to it, when heated past its transition temperature. The shape-memory effect was first noted in 1932 in Sweden in a gold-cadmium alloy. Commercial interest began in 1962, with the accidental discovery of the effect in nickel-titanium, which was being investigated for use in missile nose cones by United States Navy researchers (the word nitinol is derived from nickel-titanium Naval Ordnance Laboratory)."

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