If the name NiTinol wire doesn’t mean much to you, chances are that one or two of the top fives uses of it will. It was actually discovered by accident, by a researcher at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in 1961. A strip of this metal was brought to a meeting at the laboratory. It was bent repeatedly; however, when Dr. Muzzey held a lighter to it, it actually went back to its original shape.
The name NiTinol is an acronym for Nickel Titanium Navel Ordinance Laboratory. Its melting point is between 1240 degrees Celsius and 1310 degrees Celsius. It has a high fatigue strength, but a low density. Also it’s nonmagnetic and resistant to corrosion. For many different industries, this wire has an unbelievable number of applications. Here are the top five industries that use this material.
#1 The Medical Field
From NiTinol hooks used to attach Orel Hershiser’s tendons to the bone during a shoulder surgery to eyeglass frames that can be bent without breaking, this alloy metal is impressive. There are many orthodontic products that use this wire and it helps the teeth move faster because it’s stretched before it’s placed on the teeth. NASA has invented tweezers that can be used in very small incision to remove any tiny foreign objects. It has also become quite popular for catheters that are used in blood vessels.
#2 The Robotics Field
NiTinol is also used extensively in the robotics field it’s used in micromanipulators and actuators in order to help mimic the movement of human muscles. The controlled, smooth force it exerts when activated is the main advantage.
#3 The Safety Field
In the fire safety industry, it’s been used for many years in sprinkler systems, as it helps decrease the response time of emergency personnel. Water faucets and shower heads can be equipped with anti-scalding devices. As the temperature of the water reaches a certain level, the faucet will automatically shut off the water flow.
#4 The Clothing Industry
You may be scratching your head wondering how this wire can be used in the clothing industry. In Japan, a new brassiere has really become quite popular for the high level of comfort. This underwire bra utilizes this memory shape alloy to provide support and is very durable.
#5 The Military
NiTinol has been used in many military applications for quite some time. The F-14 is equipped with couplers made from this alloy since the 1960s. These couplers are on the hydraulic lines and help ensure tightness to avoid leaks.
With all the uses for this metal alloy, it’s no wonder that engineers are continually searching for new applications. One that holds a great deal of interest is in the automobile industry. Imagine if the frame for a car was made from a material that returned to its original shape?