Cross-Industry Applications of the Technology

Planar bending actuators based on shape memory alloys

Handheld demonstrator of a bending actuator based on shape memory alloys.

Planar bending actuators based on shape memory alloys meet 3D printing

Actuation modules with integrated wires made from shape memory alloys allow for a bending, spread over an area of the component. The active area without the actuation module has to be flexible or, in other words, thin, since the application of the actuation module stiffens the area. Afterwards, the actuation, i.e. the bending of the component, is initiated by external heating or by direct heating via applied electrical current. With high degree of design freedom due to the 3D printing technology, new movement principles can easily be developed and tested. Furthermore, a subsequent transfer to high volume manufacturing processes such as injection molding is possible.

Distributed Actuation of Vortex Generators with bending actuators based on shape memory alloy wires

Adaptive Vortex Generators enable improving the aerodynamic efficiency of almost every aeroplane. They provide the possibility to reduce the minimum airspeed without any disadvantages for the efficiency of the cruise flight. The implementation of this functionality with a conventional mechanic system is limited by the boundary conditions of the application – a limited availabe space, a minimum weight and the implementation of multiple small adjusting elements.
By the use of Actuation modules with integrated wires made from shape memory alloys allow for a bending, spread over an area of the component. The active area without the actuation module has to be flexible or, in other words, thin, since the application of the actuation module stiffens the area. Afterwards, the actuation, i.e. the bending of the component, is initiated by direct heating via applied electrical current.

Flight Test – Active Vortex Generators with SMA-bending actuators

Actuation modules with integrated wires made from shape memory alloys allow for a bending, spread over an area of the component. The active area without the actuation module has to be flexible or, in other words, thin, since the application of the actuation module stiffens the area. Afterwards, the actuation, i.e. the bending of the component, is initiated by external heating or by direct heating via applied electrical current. With high degree of design freedom due to the 3D printing technology, new movement principles can easily be developed and tested. Furthermore, a subsequent transfer to high volume manufacturing processes such as injection molding is possible.

Active under floor panel with bending actuators

With surface-integrated SMA bending actuators, a static vehicle under floor panel becomes an under floor panel with active ventilation flap – without complex mechanics, with low installation space and without kinks. The actuator modules are applied to the cut flap of the under floor panel by using an adhesive film and rivets and are activated either by external heat or by Joule heating.

Main Details:
• Vent size: 220*100 mm²
• Actuator weight: 3*4 g
• Actuator thickness: 2.8 mm

Ventilation flaps based on protagonist-antagonist - SMA-actuator

In an electronically adjustable ventilation flap usually used in automotive engineering, in addition to the actual ventilation duct and flap, the motor, gear and mechanics are also installed, which together require a volume in the larger two-digit cm³ range. In order to achieve a minimum installation space, an actuator system made of shape memory alloys based on the material-integrated protagonist-antagonist principle was developed in cooperation with a partner. The actuator system was integrated directly into the flap and distributed over the surface. The use of the protagonist-antagonist actuators thus permits a more compact design without sacrificing setting options.

High Speed Catapult - Bending actuator with shape-memory-alloy

High-Speed-activation within a few milliseconds (<< 30 ms).

Active aerodynamic profile - surface-integrated bending actuator with shape memory alloy

The advantages of the flat bending actuators with shape memory alloys, especially for aerodynamic applications, are illustrated by this active aerodynamic profile, which changes its shape at the “push of a button”. The required installation space is minimized by the direct integration of the actuator into the lower profile. The lightweight construction potential of the scalable actuator principle is illustrated here: A profile section with a width of 30 mm is able to lift a weight of 120 g by 10 mm at a mass of 40 g. In particular, the closed and continuously curved outer contour offers the innovative aerodynamic shape adaptation and visually appealing design solutions.