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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Imprimer: 0278-940X
ISSN En ligne: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2019026515
pages 121-129

Staggered Nitinol Wire Actuator Array for High Linear Displacement and Force-to-Mass Ratio

Katelyn Conrad
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-9709
James Choca
School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287
Steven Lathers
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-9709
Jeffrey T. La Belle
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona


We present the design and performance of a unique Nitinol (NiTi) actuator design for high linear displacement and force generation through joule heating. The device is comprised of a staggered linear array of NiTi in wire form that, as a shape memory alloy, can achieve linear displacement through material phase change when heated. This change allows the crystal lattice within the material to displace/adjust. The design results in strain levels of 20.4% that are comparable to those of biological muscles and provides potential for additional strain. Three- to seven-staggered NiTi wires are tested to demonstrate the different levels of strain that are achieved with a range of wires in a staggered array. In addition, we measure and compare force generated to the mass of each wire to show system force-to-mass ratio. The effective force to mass for the system is greater than 5500 combined with a seven-wire staggered array. The device shows that a lightweight, high-strain actuator can be developed, and our research demonstrates its potential use in prosthetic actuation.


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