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Review and perspectives: Shape memory alloy composite systems

Theocharis's picture


Following their discovery in the early 1960s, there has been a continuous quest for ways to take advantage of the extraordinary properties of shape memory alloys (SMAs). These intermetallic alloys can be extremely compliant while retaining the strength of metals and can convert thermal energy to mechanical work. The unique properties of SMAs result from a reversible diffussionless solid-to-solid phase transformation from austenite to martensite. The integration of SMAs into composite structures has resulted in many benefits, which include actuation, vibration control, damping, sensing, and self-healing. However, despite substantial research in this area, a comparable adoption of SMA composites by industry has not yet been realized. This discrepancy between academic research and commercial interest is largely associated with the material complexity that includes strong thermomechanical coupling, large inelastic deformations, and variable thermoelastic properties. Nonetheless, as SMAs are becoming increasingly accepted in engineering applications, a similar trend for SMA composites is expected in aerospace, automotive, and energy conversion and storage-related applications. In an effort to aid in this endeavor, a comprehensive overview of advances with regard to SMA composites and devices utilizing them is pursued in this paper. Emphasis is placed on identifying the characteristic responses and properties of these material systems as well as on comparing the various modeling methodologies for describing their response. Furthermore, the paper concludes with a discussion of future research efforts that may have the greatest impact on promoting the development of SMA composites and their implementation in multifunctional structures.

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