Properties and Characteristics of Nitinol
Nitinol’s unique ability to adapt to specific strains is what makes it so special. Nitinol is versatile and has many applications in medicine. Nitinol has a cubic structure known as austenite. This also serves as the parent phase. Low temperatures can cause the crystal to spontaneously transform into a more complex, monoclinic structure called martensite. The “transition temp” is the temperature at which martensite transforms from austenite to it. Martensite forms at Ms temperature. It is at the Mf temperature that it fully forms. Due to these features, Nitinol has superelasticity as well shape memory. This allows Nitinol the ability to exhibit a reversible response when stressed. It is caused by phase transitions between the martensitic-austenitic phases of the crystal.
These two factors are crucial to Nitinol’s property. Another is the possibility of reversing the transition. The crystal structure could be restored to its simpler state by heating above the temperature at which the transition temperatures can occur. Noting that both-way conversion takes place instantly is important as well.
Martensite crystals possess the unique ability to experience finite atomic bonds breaking without causing damage. This phenomenon is called twins. The process involves the deformation and rearrangement of atomic atom planes, without permanent deformation. This allows it to resist about 6-8% strain.
You can heat martensite to make austenite. The original austenite structure remains intact regardless of whether the martensite phase is altered. This is the reason “shape memory” refers to austenite that deforms at higher temperatures. However, its original structure will remain intact.
Nitinol can create medical devices such as a Stent at body temperature. The device can be deformed or folded at another temperature before being inserted into an arterial. It will then return to the normal temperature. This allows the device to fully recover from extremely high strain rates of up to 7.
These devices can be bent and formed for use in the body. It can hold small grasping tools or biopsy instruments that are less than those made of standard alloys. Nitinol has a unique weight reduction that makes it ideal to be used in biomedical applications, such as diaphragm defect devices, heart valve instruments and nail anchors.
Heat treating Nitinol for temperature adjustment is delicate. Precipitation of Ni-rich phase precipitation can be controlled by temperature and age. These regulate nickel levels within the lattice. Ageing can reduce the amount of nickel-rich matrix and increase the temperature transition. In order to maintain the Nitinol alloy properties, you must combine cold working with heat treatment.
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