Actuation and Fastening With Shape Memory Alloys in the Automotive Industry
As a result of a phase transformation, shape memory alloys can change their shape when the temperature changes. This unusual effect can be utilized in actuation and fastening components for automotive applications. Springs made from Ni-Ti shape memory alloys change their rate in a predetermined temperature range due to a significant change in the elastic modules of the material. They can be used as sensor-actuators in pressures control valves or oil cooler by-pass valves in automatic transmissions or to compensate for oil viscosity changes in shock absorbers or thermal expansion of dissimilar materials in gear boxes. If the recovery is constrained, i.e., shape memory element is physically prevented from returning into its original shape, a potentially high stress is generated. This effect is used in fastener rings. Fasteners made from Ni-Ti alloys provide high reliability and easy installation for braid terminations, locating of shaft mounted components, connectors and hose clamps.