Potential Analysis of Smart Materials and Methodical Approach developing Adaptive Designs using Shape Memory Alloys

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Hein, Andrea; Holder, Daniel; Maier, Jonas; Maier, Thomas
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: University of Stuttgart
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


High-tech materials and new processes enable innovative concepts in the field of product development. Smart materials can generate new and efficient products through controllable properties. These materials are increasingly investigated in research studies. One typical example are shape memory alloys. Their special property of remembering the original form after deformation leads to the development of lighter, more efficient, more energy-efficient and innovative solutions as well as products. In the following, therefore, shape memory alloys are investigated especially in the area of product development. Special focus is laid on the possible applications within adaptive designs. Smart materials are becoming more important in research, but actual use has not increased to the same extent. Reasons are, for example, high material and development costs and lack of development methods. The following study focuses on the material Nitinol (nickel-titanium alloy). There are already numerous publications on the behavior of the martensitic and austenitic conditions and on position control. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of concrete fields of application, especially in the field of industrial design engineering. Therefore, the specific use of Nitinol and an increase in the range of application contain great potential. Nitinol is currently, generally speaking, restricted to applications in the medical and aerospace industries. In order to extend its use and application to other areas, a standardization of the shape memory actuators, application-specific integration and design possibilities as well as development and design methods would be necessary. For example, the use of shape memory alloys in vehicle contexts could allow for weight reduction, aerodynamic improvement, and increased user comfort and ergonomics. So, the use of shape memory alloys could potentially initialize completely new applications and areas of application. The present study examines areas of application of smart materials in general, focusing on shape memory alloys, in particular Nitinol. The result is an overview matrix of already used and applicated smart materials in order to detect further research potential, to enable the transfer of already used technologies and to define new fields of application. The matrix is categorized into different smart materials and their application within the fields of ergonomics, design and technology. This method for potential estimation thus shows new areas of application and leads to links with already established areas of application. This will enable a transfer of already explored or proven technologies to new topics. Particularly promising is an application related to motor vehicles. Growing demands on innovative vehicles, for example regarding a higher safety, comfort and functionality, lead to an increased total mass. Therefore, lightweight, adjustable components offer great potential. In particular, door handles, aerodynamic elements and interfaces within the interior design contain potential for the use and application of shape memory alloys. The results of the developed matrix in combination with the application areas in motor vehicles are elaborated using the example of a door handle, realized as a prototype. Based on this proof of concept, first approaches to a method for the design and integration of Nitinol are presented

Keywords: Design methods, adaptive systems and structures, smart materials, shape memory alloys, user centered design, vehicle exterior design


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