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Advisory Committee Chair

Douglas H Ross

Advisory Committee Members

Dalton S Nelson

Peter M Walsh

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) School of Engineering

Abstract

The type of actuator studied in this paper is a joule heated shape memory alloy (SMA) thermal actuator. The electrical connections of the actuator electrically partition the SMA in a binary fashion with the section either fully actuated or not. This method creates a digital actuator rather than an analog actuator. Heat from an energized partitioned section will conduct to adjacent partition sections which may partially activate the adjacent partitioned sections. The connections will act as heat sinks to mitigate this effect. The thermal SMA actuator is referred to as a Diginol actuator. This paper includes the thermal analysis of the SMA wire both with and without connections. The goal was to create tools and a method to determine an optimal connection size.

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