Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are currently conducting research in processing smart materials for thermally activated thin-film shape memory alloys. This novel class of smart materials and micromechanical systems, more commonly referred to as MEMS, processing technologies will enable devices for microsensing and actuation, event detection and device protection for a wide range of Army systems. Smart materials, by design, have one or more properties, like stress or phase, which can be manipulated in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, such as temperature, moisture, pH, electric or magnetic fields. One of these smart materials is a Nickel-Titanium alloy, often referred to as Nitinol, which exhibits advantageous properties such as shape memory and super elasticity.
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