Characterization of a shape memory alloy interference coupling
Crane, William M.
Newman, James H.
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A versatile and heretofore unutilized coupling is obtained by press-fitting a hollow nickel titanium shape memory alloy (SMA) shaft into a steel hub. This produces an SMA interference coupling that is distinct from other SMA actuators by the method in which the SMA is used. Press-fitting the hollow SMA shaft in its detwinned martensitic phase into a steel hub creates a joint capable of holding parts such as emergency doors, satellite solar panels, or tamper locks securely together until commanded release. Release is accomplished by heating the SMA to its activation temperature. The resulting decrease in diameter of the hollow SMA shaft allows it to easily slip out of the hub, releasing the part. Load testing of the SMA interference coupling showed ultimate strengths about twice that of traditional press-fit coupling strength calculations. The coupling can be designed to be a simple mechanism of very small size, on the order of one cubic centimeter, capable of achieving coupling strengths in excess of 4000 N (900 lbf).
The article of record may be found at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0964-1726/23/11/115011
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