Faculty Advisor

Ryszard J. Pryputniewicz

Faculty Advisor

Isa Bar-On

Faculty Advisor

Richard D. Sisson Jr.

Faculty Advisor

Gretar Tryggvason

Faculty Advisor

Gordon C. Brown

Faculty Advisor

Yiming Rong


Recent advances in materials engineering have given rise to a new class of materials known as active materials. These materials when used appropriately can aid in development of smart structural systems. Smart structural systems are adaptive in nature and can be utilized in applications that are subject to time varying loads such as aircraft wings, structures exposed to earthquakes, electrical interconnections, biomedical applications, and many more. Materials such as piezoelectric crystals, electrorheological fluids, and shape memory alloys (SMAs) constitute some of the active materials that have the innate ability to response to a load by either changing phase (e.g., liquid to solid), and recovering deformation. Active materials when combined with conventional materials (passive materials) such as polymers, stainless steel, and aluminum, can result in the development of smart structural systems (SSS). This Dissertation focuses on characterization of SMAs and structures that incorporate SMAs. This characterization is based on a hybrid analytical, computational, and experimental solutions (ACES) methodology. SMAs have a unique ability to recover extensive amounts of deformation (up to 8% strain). NiTiNOL (NOL: Naval Ordinance Lab) is the most commonly used commercially available SMA and is used in this Dissertation. NiTiNOL undergoes a solid-solid phase transformation from a low temperature phase (Martensite) to a high temperature phase (Austenite). This phase transformation is complete at a critical temperature known as the transformation temperature (TT). The low temperature phase is softer than the high temperature phase (Martensite is four times softer than Austenite). In this Dissertation, use of NiTiNOL in representative engineering applications is investigated. Today, the NiTiNOL is either in ribbon form (rectangular in cross-section) or thin sheets. In this Dissertation, NiTiNOL is embedded in parent materials, and the effect of incorporating the SMA on the dynamic behavior of the composite are studied. In addition, dynamics of thin sheet SMA is also investigated. The characterization is conducted using state-of-the- art (SOTA) ACES methodology. The ACES methodology facilitates obtaining an optimal solution that may otherwise be difficult, or even impossible, to obtain using only either an analytical, or a computational, or an experimental solution alone. For analytical solutions energy based methods are used. For computational solutions finite element method (FEM) are used. For experimental solutions time-average optoelectronic holography (OEH) and stroboscopic interferometry (SI) are used. The major contributions of this Dissertation are: 1. Temperature dependent material properties (e.g., modulus of elasticity) of NiTiNOL based on OEH measurements. 2. Thermomechanical response of representative composite materials that incorporate NiTiNOL“fibers". The Dissertation focuses on thermomechanical characterization of NiTiNOL and representative structures based on NiTiNOL; this type of an evaluation is essential in gainfully employing these materials in engineering designs.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





thermomechanical, SMAs, NiTiNOL, ACES, OEH, Smart materials, Shape memory alloys, Metals, Thermomechanical treatment, Nitinol