What is nitinol & What is nitinol wire used for[2023]

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Author : Alex
Update time : 2023-02-26 19:17:10

Nitinol is a special type of alloy made up of approximately equal parts of nickel and titanium, which is known for its remarkable shape memory and superelasticity properties. By heating Nitinol above its transition temperature, it can be easily deformed into a specific shape. Once cooled back down to room temperature, it will retain this new shape, but if it is heated again above the transition temperature, it will return to its original shape.


In this article

1. What is nitinol metal & What is nitinol alloy?
2. What is nitinol wire?
3. How to shape nitinol wire?
3. What is nitinol wire used for?
4. Where to buy nitinol wire?
5. Reference
This article will cite relevant authoritative papers to confirm the views in the article, and the cited papers will be displayed at the end.


What is nitinol metal & What is nitinol alloy?



Nitinol was first discovered by William J. Buehler and Frederick Wang at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1961. They initially studied an alloy composed of titanium and nickel, which they discovered had shape memory and superelastic properties. Later, they named this alloy "Nitinol" from the ratio of its chemical composition (Nickel Titanium Naval Ordnance Laboratory).Nitnol's first paper was jointly published by Buehler and Wang, titled "An alloy of Titanium and Nickel showing pseudoelasticity" (an alloy of titanium and nickel showing pseudoelasticity), published in Applied Physics Letters in 1963[1].
Nitinol metal and Nitnol alloy are essentially the same thing, Technically speaking, Nitinol is a metal alloy, as it is composed of two or more metallic elements. However, due to its unique properties of shape memory and superelasticity, it is often referred to simply as Nitinol or Nitinol alloy in the industry and research communities. Thus, Nitinol is a specific type of alloy, with its own distinct composition and properties, rather than a pure metal.

Nitinol is known for its unique properties of shape memory and superelasticity. When heated above a certain temperature (called the "transition temperature"), Nitinol can be easily deformed into a specific shape. If it is then cooled back down to room temperature, it will retain that new shape. However, if it is heated again above the transition temperature, it will "remember" its original shape and will return to it, exhibiting remarkable shape recovery even after being severely deformed. Additionally, Nitinol can exhibit superelasticity, allowing it to undergo large amounts of deformation while still returning to its original shape.

One study by Lu et al. (2020)[2] investigated the use of Nitinol shape memory alloy wires in the design of soft robotic actuators. The authors found that the superelasticity and shape memory properties of Nitinol allowed for the development of a highly adaptable and responsive robotic system.

Another study by Yılmaz and Yurdakul (2020)[3] explored the use of Nitinol alloys in the construction of structural elements for aerospace applications. The authors found that Nitinol alloys exhibited excellent fatigue resistance and good strength-to-weight ratios, making them promising materials for use in aircraft components.

Overall, the unique properties of Nitinol make it a versatile and valuable material for a variety of applications in fields such as engineering, medicine, and robotics.



What is nitinol wire?


Nitinol wire is a type of wire made from a nickel-titanium alloy.We have described the characteristics of nitinol above, and nitinol wire naturally has the same properties. 

Next I will explain to you how does nitinol wire work.

Nitinol wire works through its unique properties of shape memory and superelasticity. When Nitinol wire is heated above a certain temperature, called the "transition temperature," it undergoes a phase transformation from martensite to austenite phase. This results in a rearrangement of the atomic lattice structure of the nickel-titanium alloy that makes up the Nitinol wire.

During this transformation, the Nitinol wire can be easily deformed into a specific shape. If it is then cooled back down to room temperature, it will retain that new shape. However, when Nitinol wire is heated again above the transition temperature, it undergoes another phase transformation from austenite back to martensite phase and returns to its original shape, exhibiting remarkable shape recovery even after being severely deformed. This is due to the reversible nature of the phase transformation between the martensite and austenite phases.

Due to the reversible phase transformation between austenite and martensite phases that occurs in Nitinol wire during deformation and unloading.In addition to its shape memory properties, Nitinol wire also exhibits superelasticity, which allows it to undergo large amounts of deformation while still returning to its original shape[4]




How to shape nitinol wire?



Nitinol wire can be shaped in a few different ways, depending on the desired shape and the specific properties of the wire. Here are some common methods for shaping Nitinol wire:

1. Bending: Nitinol wire can be bent using standard wire-bending techniques. However, care must be taken to avoid over-bending or kinking the wire, as this can cause it to lose its shape memory and superelastic properties.

2. Heat-shaping: Nitinol wire can also be shaped using heat. This involves heating the wire above its transition temperature (which varies depending on the specific alloy), and then bending or shaping it while it is in its austenite phase. The wire can then be cooled back down to room temperature to "lock in" the new shape. 

3. Electroforming: Nitinol wire can also be shaped using electroforming techniques. This involves depositing a thin layer of Nitinol onto a mold or template using an electrochemical process. The resulting Nitinol shape can then be removed from the mold and used as a functional component.

3. Laser-cutting: Nitinol wire can also be cut into specific shapes using laser-cutting techniques. This method is particularly useful for creating small or intricate shapes, as it allows for precise control over the cutting process.

It's important to note that shaping Nitinol wire can be challenging, and it is often best to work with a specialist or experienced metal manufacturer to ensure that the wire is shaped correctly and that its shape memory and superelastic properties are preserved.


What is nitinol wire used for?

Nitinol wire is used in a wide range of applications due to its unique properties of shape memory and superelasticity. Some common uses of Nitinol wire include:

1. Medical devices: Nitinol wire is often used in medical devices, such as stents, catheters, and orthodontic wires. Its shape memory and superelastic properties make it ideal for these applications, as it can be easily deformed to fit inside the body and then return to its original shape once in place.

2. Robotics: Nitinol wire is also used in robotics, particularly in soft robotics applications. Its superelastic properties allow it to undergo large amounts of deformation without breaking, making it ideal for use in flexible and adaptable robots.

3. Aerospace: Nitinol wire is used in a range of aerospace applications, such as in actuators and control systems. Its shape memory properties allow it to be used in applications where space is limited, as it can be deformed to fit into tight spaces and then return to its original shape once in place.

4. Consumer electronics: Nitinol wire is also used in consumer electronics, such as in headphones and speakers. Its shape memory properties can be used to create custom-fit earbuds and other accessories.

5. Sports equipment: Nitinol wire is sometimes used in sports equipment, such as in the frames of eyeglasses and in ski boots. Its superelastic properties allow it to withstand repeated bending and deformation without breaking.


Where to buy nitinol wire?


Looking for a reliable supplier of Nitinol? Look no further than Guangdong Metal Corporation! Our company is a leading manufacturer and exporter of Nitinol products, with years of experience in the industry.  And with Guangdong Metal Corporation, you can trust that you are getting high-quality Nitinol products that are made to meet your exact specifications. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with all of your Nitinol needs!


Reference
1. 
Buehler, W. J., & Wang, F. C. (1963). An alloy of titanium and nickel showing pseudoelasticity. Applied Physics Letters, 2(3), 117-119. doi: 10.1063/1.1753889
2. Lu, T., et al. (2020). Soft Robotic Actuators Based on Nitinol Shape Memory Alloy Wires. Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 31(8), 1033-1042. doi: 10.1177/1045389X19894747
3. Yılmaz, C., & Yurdakul, H. (2020). Development of Nitinol Structural Elements for Aerospace Applications. Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, 29(8), 5228-5236. doi: 10.1007/s11665-020-05008-w
4. Pelton, A. R. (1999). Nitinol: a miracle metal alloy. Biomaterials, 20(1), 1-10. doi: 10.1016/S0142-9612(98)00146-7

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