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On the experimental testing of fine Nitinol wires for medical devices

Henderson, Emma and Nash, David and Dempster, William (2011) On the experimental testing of fine Nitinol wires for medical devices. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 4 (3). pp. 261-268. ISSN 1751-6161

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Abstract

Nitinol, a nickel titanium alloy, is widely used as a biocompatible metal with applications in high strain medical devices. The alloy exhibits both superelasticity and thermal shape memory behaviour. Basic mechanical properties can be established and are provided by suppliers; however the true stress–strain response under repeated load is not fully understood. It is essential to know this behaviour in order to design devices where failure by fatigue may be possible. The present work develops an approach for characterising the time varying mechanical properties of fine Nitinol wire and investigates processing factors, asymmetric stress–strain behaviour, temperature dependency, strain rate dependency and the material response to thermal and repeated mechanical loading. Physically realistic and accurately determined mechanical properties are provided in a format suitable for use in finite element analysis for the design of medical devices. Guidance is also given as to the most appropriate experimental set up procedures for gripping and testing thin Nitinol wire.