Large cycle time, resulted from slow cooling, is the core hindrance to the wide spread applications of shape memory alloys (SMAs) as actuators. This chapter discusses a novel cooling technique to decrease the cycle time of SMAs. Under this technique, the SMA actuator of 0.15 mm diameter was run through a grease-filled Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tube of 0.5 mm outside diameter. Later, same tests were repeated with oil filled PTFE tube. The test results conducted in ambient air were used as standard for comparison. The actuation current in ambient air was set at 210, 310 and 410 mA. While testing with heat sink, i.e. grease and oil, the SMA was heated with 210, 310, 410, 500, 615 and 720 mA currents for 1 and 2 seconds, whereas the SMA was heated for 1 second only with 810 mA current. It was found that the grease cooling reduced the cooling time up to 30% and oil cooling by 20%, as compared to the ambient air-cooling time. However, the grease-cooled actuators had shown less strain, and their response was non-linear at many instances. Heat loss to the sinks resulted to more power consumption than that in ambient air cooling for equivalent amount of strain.
Part of the book: Shape Memory Alloys