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  • Shape memory alloy actuators: advantages and disadvantages

    Shape memory alloy actuator advantages

    Shape memory alloy power vs weight

    Figure: Comparison of Shape memory actuator with others

    The advantages of SMA actuators over existing solutions are reported to be:

    (i) shape memory alloy actuators have highest power-to-weight ratio among light-weight technologies. which means that they have a high potential for miniaturization.

    (ii) Simplicity of mechanism: Avoidance of end-of-deployment shock loadings, which are always associated with spring-deployed structures. Therefore no more need for dampers, and hence overall system complexity can be reduced.

    (iii) Silent actuation: Noiseless operation, which removes the vibration disturbances to other payloads that are normally associated with motor-driven deployment.

    (iv) Sensing ability: Both actuating and sensing functions can be combined by measuring changes in electrical resistance associated with the phase transformation.

    (v) Low driving voltage: the shape transformation can be activated by passing an electrical current through a shape memory alloy element by applying a small voltage to it due to high electrical resistivity.

    Shape memory alloy actuator disadvantages

    The disadvantages of SMA actuators are:

    A low energy efficiency

    A strong relationship between the strain operation range and fatigue life Quite a low response speed

    Non-linear behavior.

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