Experimental Study of Nitinol Springs: Apparatus and Results

I. Alexandron, G. deBotton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The behavior of shape memory alloys that admit large reversible deformations in response to thermal excitation has been extensively studied in recent years. Yet, the number of works dealing with springs made from these alloys is rather limited in spite of their attractiveness in various applications. Objective: To bridge this gap we designed and constructed an experimental system for characterizing the behavior of the springs. It enables precise control of the three state variables: temperature, elongation, and force. Methods: Control of the sample temperature is achieved by immersing it in a water-filled thermal bath, where the water temperature is adjusted using a thermoelectric Peltier device. A tension-compression motorized unit sets the spring elongation and a force gauge is used for measuring the force exerted on the spring. The data is continuously monitored and acquired with a self-coded LabVIEW program. An important aspect is the calibration procedure developed for identifying the spring load-free state and ensuring the repetitiveness of the measurements. Results: Experiments in which the elongation or the force were measured as a function of the temperature demonstrate the role of the phase transformations. Isothermal experiments enabled to characterize the variations of the force versus the elongation at different temperatures. Conclusions: The proposed system facilitates the execution of highly accurate experiments through which the complex history-dependent behavior of shape memory springs can be revealed and studied.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalExperimental Mechanics
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2024


  • Calibration procedure
  • Experimental system
  • Nitinol springs
  • Shape memory alloys

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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