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Modeling NiTi Superelastic-Shape Memory Antagonistic Beams: A Finite Element Analysis

[+] Author Affiliations
Majid Tabesh, Mohammad Elahinia, Mehdi Pourazady

University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Paper No. SMASIS2009-1365, pp. 557-566; 10 pages
  • ASME 2009 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 1: Active Materials, Mechanics and Behavior; Modeling, Simulation and Control
  • Oxnard, California, USA, September 21–23, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4896-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3857-0
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Shape memory alloys (SMA) have received widespread attention from researchers in various fields of engineering sciences due to their exceptional properties of shape memory and superelasticity. NiTi equiatomic alloys among other SMA, show acceptable biocompatibility to be implemented in biomedical applications. Applications of NiTi in biomedical areas specifically orthopedics, demonstrate its unique performance which is not achievable with conventional materials. Pedicle screws, which are used as an anchoring point for implanting spinal instrumentations in spinal fracture and deformity treatments, entail a major drawback; i.e. loosening and back-out. The strength of screw contact with the surrounding bone diminishes as the bone degrades due to osteoporosis. A “Smart” pedicle screw design was developed to address this issue which uses NiTi superelastic-shape memory coils wrapped around it. The smart assembly consists of external superelastic tubing which is responsible for expanding the designed protrusions when they reach body temperature; also an internal shape memory wire inserted into the tubing is sought to retract the assembly when locally heated to above body temperature. The whole assembly was modeled as a beam structure in COMSOL Multiphysics Finite Element software. The behavior of shape memory alloy was defined in the software via its Partial Differential Equation (PDE) module. The SMA model has is a Tanaka-based model and is capable of capturing shape memory effect, superelasticity and hysteresis behavior, and partial transformation in both positive and negative directions. This 1D model was further modified to be included in a 3D framework such that it makes it possible for simulation of a beam under bending. The functionality of the smart screw design can be studied via this FEM model as a future work and the outcomes of the simulation can be compared with experimental tests on the prepared sample of the screw comprising NiTi tubing and wires.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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