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What is Nitinol the shape memory alloy?

Posted by Martin Havel on

Nitinol the shape memory alloy used in high-end paragliders, F14 fighter jet, Mars Rower and many more cool gadgets. What makes it such a cool material for paragliding wings. Nitinol has exceptionally high elasticity at low transformation temperature and this is what makes it so appealing as a replacement for the plastic rods used inside the paraglider. There is more to Nitinol than just the shape memory effect. It can also be super-elastic. If the alloy is created to have a low transformation temperature, below room temperature then it's already in that phase of its final shape. So when we try to deform it bounces right back. The transformation temperatures in Nitinol are altered by the ratio of nickel and titanium used that way Nitinol can reshape and bend predictably. The additional cost of using Nitinol for paraglider instead of the standard plastic rods varies based on the amount of material used and the added cost will be between 200€ to 400€ based on the length and diameter of the Nitinol rods.
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