The Development of a Monolithic Shape Memory Alloy Actuator
Toews, Leslie Marilyn
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Shape memory alloys (SMAs) provide exciting opportunities for miniature actuation systems. As SMA actuators are scaled down in size, cooling increases and bandwidth, improves. However, the inclusion of a bias element with which to cycle the SMA actuator becomes difficult at very small scales. One technique used to avoid the necessity of having to include a separate bias element is the use of local annealing to fabricate a monolithic device out of nickel titanium (NiTi). The actuator geometry is machined out of a single piece of non-annealed NiTi. After locally annealing a portion of the complete device, that section exhibits the shape memory effect while the remainder acts as structural support and provides the bias force required for cycling. This work proposes one such locally-annealed monolithic SMA actuator for future incorporation in a device that navigates the digestive tract. After detailing the derivation of lumped electro-mechanical models for the actuator, a description of the prototyping procedure, including fabrication and local annealing of the actuator, is provided. This thesis presents the experimental prototype actuator behaviour and compares it with simulations generated using the developed models.