Smart stuffs have been one of the fastest turning stuffs needed for medical device fabrication. Smart stuffs, harmonizing to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & A ; Technical Footings, are defined as ‘Materials that can significantly alter their mechanical belongingss ( such as form, stiffness, and viscousness ) , or their thermic, optical, or electromagnetic belongingss, in a predictable or governable mode in response to their environment ‘ . It is this belongings of altering harmonizing to its stuff that makes smart stuffs really valuable in fabricating today. Possibly one of the most utile smart stuffs comes in the signifier of memory form alloys, specifically nitinol. Memory form metals have many applications in medical devices used today. They are extremely prized for their exceeding superelasticity, their form memory, their good opposition to tire and have on, and their comparatively good biocompatibility. This makes them the perfect campaigner for many in-vivo medical devices.


The shape-memory consequence was foremost observed in copper-zinc and copper-tin metals by Greninger and Mooradian in 1938, but it was merely in the early sixtiess that Buehler and his co-workers discovered and patented nitinol, a nickel-titanium metal created in the Naval Ordnance Laboratory ( NOL ) . This lab was once located in White Oak, Maryland and was the site of considerable work that has had utile impact upon universe engineering. The White Oak site of NOL has now been taken over by the Food and Drug Administration but has still left its bequest in the name nitinol ( nickel + Ti + NOL- the initials of the Naval Ordinance Laboratory ) ( Gautam, et Al. 2008 ) . Their smart metal metal, nevertheless, is 55 % Ni by weight and may therefore hold allergic, toxic, or carcinogenic effects. For short-run usage, in-vitro and clinical informations strongly back up nitinol as a safe biomaterial which is at least every bit good as unstained steel or Ti metals besides available to interior decorators.

Medical Applications of Shape Memory Alloys

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Muscles are the power of the organic structure, used to turn energy into motion and gesture. Shape memory metals can be used to in their solid-state stage to do devices from musculus wires.

Applications of form memory alloys in the medical field are legion. Their flexibleness at one temperature and one manner form memory consequence when heated to their transmutation temperature make these metals key stuffs for assorted medical methods. The inability of form memory stuffs to unite to other metals requires some version to be developed. A common stuff for this is nickel-titanium. Nickel-titanium has an first-class torsion transportation characteristic which is merely one of the many grounds this stuff is used for manufacturing medical equipment ( Yoshida, et Al. 2010 ) . A few noteworthy applications are catheters, medical usher wires, bone home bases and stents. Bone plates comprised of form memory metals, aid in mending broken castanetss by doing usage of the organic structure ‘s natural temperature to contract and maintain force per unit area for proper healing. ( Georgia Inst. Of Tech, 2007 )


Catheters are used in a figure of processs such as therapeutics, nosologies, and ablative processs. Used in the medical field for disposal of fluids, drainage, and supply a method to infix surgical instruments, catheters are tubes that can be placed in a organic structure pit, vas, or canal. In the instance of blood vass, the catheter must travel around the decompression sicknesss and angles to make the coveted finish. Stiff stuffs would non be flexible plenty for this process and may do a rupture in the vas. Due to heat limitations and hazard of harm, merely specific form memory metals can be used for many of these delicate procedures. A solution for this job is provided by the R-phase transmutation, which is a specific type of martensite transmutation that occurs in certain nickel-rich Ni-Ti metal ( Langelaar, et Al. 2010 ) . Traveling through the vass is a hard undertaking, so a guidance mechanism is implemented into a catheter to steer throughout the organic structure.

Presently catheters are equipped with incorporate micro-actuators that allow controlled bending, which yields enhanced manoeuvrability compared to conventional catheters. Actuators consist of usher wires that bend when energy runs through them such as an electric current that heat the form memory stuff. The simplistic designs of the actuator allows for high strains and emphasiss needed for a procedure. There are few triping mechanisms which produce more utile work per unit volume than nitinol ( Williams, et Al. 1999 ) . Steering wires besides known as pull wires or determining wires, are located along the tubing to let for gesture in many waies.

Figure 1: Actuation energy denseness diagram.

Above: This demonstrates that form memory metals are more effectual in actuators than many of the current stuffs on the market. Guide wires provide flexibleness, form memory, and pseudoelasticity. When a greater stiffness is required, the thickness of the wire may be increased to run into public presentation criterions. Shape memory alloys let for the catheter to return to its original geometry when the tenseness in the wire is removed. One version formed due to the deficiency of metallurgical connection is a unstained steel arms, known as a fold arm, to keep the wires to the catheter ( Stoeckel, 2010 ) . The arm brings up the job of increasing the diameter of the catheter. To forestall breakage in a stuff, more flexibleness and ductileness is ideal. In medical applications, nitinol has higher ductileness leting more fictile distortion without fracturing due to the temperature of the human organic structure.

Figure 2: Stress-strain curve of common form memory metal, nickel-titanium

At organic structure temperature ( 310K ) , nitinol will hold a high per centum of strain at low emphasis intending more ductileness.


One of the largest medical utilizations for form memory metal is in stents. A stent is a tubing that is inserted into an arteria to keep it unfastened. Stents are needed when the walls of the arteria are non strong plenty to stay unfastened and need support to guarantee that blood is able to flux. The stent is put in topographic point during a process called an angioplasty ( Stent Facts, 2010 ) . In order to acquire the stent into the arteria, it needs to be collapsed and inserted into a catheter. Shape memory alloys allow physicians to fall in the stent to a much smaller diameter, and have it return to its original form after go forthing the catheter inside the arteria. The original usage of form memory alloys in stents was in the signifier of a simple spiral. The spiral was tightly wound in the catheter and so expanded one time it was inserted into the arteria and warmed. The expanded size of the spiral is chosen to be somewhat larger than the interior diameter of the mark vas, which means the spiral will non be able to to the full spread out inside the arteria. The form memory metal, in its warmed province, will go on to try to spread out, which will set a uninterrupted outward force per unit area on the walls of the arteria. This will guarantee that the arteria remains unfastened. In more recent times, simple spiral stents are used more for non-vascular applications such as forestalling vesica obstructor. The simple spiral stents that are still in usage today are used in vascular instances where easy retrieval is required. The form memory metal allows the stent to keep its signifier in the organic structure, but still be easy to deform back to a consecutive wire for remotion ( Sutou, et Al. 2006 ) .

More modern form memory metal stents are made in signifiers other than a spiral. The form memory metal can be formed into a braided or knitted spiral. The downside of this is that the points where the wires cross signifier thicker walls, which are unwanted in a stent. Although the braided and knitted form memory metal stents were a measure up in functionality from the simple spirals, the thicker walls made them unwanted for many instances. The following degree of form memory metal stents occurred one time scientists determined how to do the metals in level sheets instead than merely wire. Laser cutting a form into a level sheet of the metal, so turn overing and welding it at assorted points creates a stent with no overlapping wires at the walls. Sheet manner stents are thin, but besides structurally supportive when heated to personify temperature. This gives them more flexibleness than the simple spiral theoretical accounts and is a better usage of the form memory alloys features ( Sutou, et Al. 2006 ) .

An older manner spiral stent in both its compressed and expanded signifiers

Examples of sheet manner stents: Top- Jostent SelfX ( made by Jomed ) , Bottom- Dynalink ( made by Guidant )

Examples of braided manner stents: Left- ZA Stent ( made by Cook ) , Right- Symphony Stent ( made by Boston Scientific )

General Hazards

General jeopardies of inhaling Nitinol include annoyance, coughing, and shortness of breath. If ingested GI upsets are possible. Skin contact and oculus contact include annoyance with possible inflammation and hurting. None of these side effects are chronic. ( SMDS 2008 )

Complications of Nickel-Titanium in Medical Applications

Of the broad scope of metals that contain the belongingss of form memory metals, nickel-titanium and copper-based metals hold the most value commercially. Nickel-titanium, besides known as nitinol, is an equi-atomic mixture of the two metals. Concerns have risen over this metal for the fright of Ni being released into the organic structure ( Williams, et Al. 1999 ) . It is of import in medical equipment for the stuffs to be biocompatible, or the ability of the stuff to execute with a necessary response. In most medical processs no response is typically desired. To find if nitinol meets these standards, the belongingss of Ti, Ni, and the combination of the two can be looked at.

Titanium is a metal with a high opposition to corrosion. It is non peculiarly reactive and therefore is effectual for medical utilizations where the device needs to be in the human organic structure for an drawn-out period of clip ( Lagoudas, 2010 ) . It contains no features of toxicity. Titanium is besides a really strong stuff, nevertheless it is rarer and more hard to fabricate than other stuffs. This makes Ti expensive compared to other options.

Nickel is a metal which is highly reactive. Nickel is toxic to the human organic structure and may do monolithic redness and interaction with proteins. These belongingss raise inquiries on whether nitinol metal is safe for medical utilizations. The benefits of utilizing Ni in medical devices is that Ni additions flexibleness and lowers the disbursal when alloyed with more expensive stuffs such as Ti ( Langelaar, et. Al. 2010 ) .

The belongingss when Ni and Ti are alloyed together normally take on those of Ti. During the fabrication procedure an outer bed of Ti oxide signifiers. Although some Ni will still be on the outside, the toxicity is greatly reduced. When taking a stuff for medical instruments, a risk/benefit analysis controls which alloy will be used. Nitinol is chosen because it holds great benefits and is really safe to utilize. Extensive testing of this stuff has been done and is still happening to restrict complications ( Yoshida, et Al. 2010 ) .

Figure 3: Break-down potency as a map of oxide thickness on Nitinol ; insert: consequences of potentiostatic corrosion trials of Nitinol samples

Safety During Medical Application

When sing the usage of form memory metals ( such as nitinol ) , in medical applications, it becomes necessary to measure the safety of the stuffs for usage in the human organic structure. Biocompatibility and corrosion are two factors that come into drama when sing arrangement into worlds. Properly treated nitinol implants are corrosion immune and compatible in worlds. These implants form a surface oxide bed that protects the basal stuff from most corrosion. There are some concerns of the Ni content fade outing from the Nitinol and doing inauspicious affects. However, other alloys incorporating high degrees of Ni, such as MP35N or 300 series chromium steel steel, have been used in orthodontias, orthopaedicss, and cardiovascular applications, all the while exposing good biocompatibility. ( Stoeckel, et Al. 2003 )

Surveies have shown that in vitro disintegration of nitinol dental archwires in spit released an norm of 13.05 mg/day nickel. This figure is significantly lower than the mean dietetic consumption of 200-300 mg/day. There was no addition in the nickel blood degree throughout the survey. A comparative in vitro cell civilization survey was performed to mensurate nickel release from nitinol and 316L chromium steel steel in fibroblast and bone-forming cell cell civilization media. The nickel content was higher in the nitinol group for the first twenty-four hours, but quickly decreased over clip to accomplish similar degrees as the chromium steel steel. The Ni content ne’er reached toxic degrees in the nitinol and did non interfere with the cell growing. It was found that samples prepared by mechanical shining released higher sums of Ni-ions than those prepared by electropolishing. In order to measure the consequence of smoothing on Ni release, automatically polished and electropolished samples of nitinol, MP35N, and 316L chromium steel steel were immersed in solution for a period of over 1000 hours. Samples prepared by electropolishing released smaller sums of Ni-ions than those with mechanical shining. The electropolishing procedure removes extra nickel from the surface and signifiers an enriched bed of Ti. ( Stoechel, et Al. 2003 )

A survey on blood compatibility was conducted on nitinol and chromium steel steel stents utilizing an ex vivo, AV-shunt porcine theoretical account. It was concluded that nitinol is significantly less thrombogenic than unstained steel, intending that when used in the human organic structure it has a much lower opportunity of doing blood coagulums. It is thought that the titanium-oxide rich surface bed on the nitinol prevents denaturation of factor I and minimizes platelet-rich thrombus formation within the stent after nidation. ( Thierry, et Al. 2000 )

Figure 4: Ni ion release from Nitinol, MP35N, and chromium steel steel

Table 1: Ratio of Ni to Ti in the surface of automatically, electropolished or passivated samples of Nitinol, MP35N and chromium steel steel

Comparison of Shape Memory Alloy Nickel-Titanium to Stainless Steel

The ability of form memory alloys to return to their original place after big strains are induced is similar to that of gum elastic. However, unlike gum elastic, form memory metals are strong and noncorrosive much like unstained steel. Both nickel-titanium and unstained steel have long fatigue life. Many unstained steels contain nickel to keep an austenitic construction. Higher nickel content warrants superior opposition to corrosive snap. Stainless steel has a comparatively lower cost compared to nitinol chiefly due to larger production Numberss. Merely about two 100 dozenss were produced in 1998 compared to a few hundred thousand dozenss of chromium steel steel ( Lagoudas, 2010 ) . Debasing a metal raises the production outgo but changes the tensile and shear strength of the initial metals. The belongingss of form memory metals are better than those of unstained steel and therefore are the chosen stuff for certain applications.

Figure 6: Phases of Alloys

Figure 5: Stress-strain-temperature diagram exhibiting the form memory consequence of nitinol

Above: Shape memory metals have two stages, each with a different crystal construction and

belongingss. One is the high temperature stage, called austenite, and the other is the low temperature stage, martensite. Each martensitic crystal formed can hold a different orientation way, called a discrepancy. The assembly of martensitic discrepancies can be in two signifiers. Twinned martensite, which is formed by a combination of self-accommodated martensitic discrepancies and detwinned or reoriented martensite in which a particular discrepancy is dominant ( Lagoudas, 2010 ) .

Costss of Shape Memory Alloys such as Nickel-Titanium

Alloies such as nitinol have hapless formability in the fabrication procedure which increases the production costs of such stuffs. The complex behaviour of the stuff makes the development of form memory alloys adaptative constructions a ambitious undertaking. In this instance, it is by and large accepted that systematic, model-based design attacks and design optimisation techniques can be of great aid ( Langelaar et al. 2010 ) . However, as more applications for these stuffs are needed, the monetary value will diminish.

Presently, form memory metals are commercially available from a limited figure of manufacturers. When more production of these metals Begins, production costs will cut down. World production is little in contrast to other metal trade goods. Competition thrusts monetary values lower in a market. Newer engineering in fabrication will besides do the production more effectual. Monetary values for form memory metals were over one dollar per gm of stuff in the 1990s. Today, the costs are approximately 90 per centum lower.

Whatever the cost may be, determine memory metals such as nickel-titanium are one of the lone stuffs capable of such minuscule instrumentality with the coveted belongingss. Shape memory metals are effectual for their cost due to dependability and multiple maps ( Stoeckel, 2010 ) . Many applications of form memory alloys merely necessitate a little sum of stuff. With monetary values around that of similar steels, form memory metals are deriving more attending in a assortment of applications.

Figure 7: Cost ratio-output volumetric work chart for both one-shot and one hundred-shot actuators.

Above: The best stuff lies towards the upper left corner as it corresponds to moo stuff cost

for the same end product work ( Lagoudas, 2010 ) . It indicates that CuZnAl is the best, while Ni-Ti is the least. However, it may be more advantageous to utilize Ni-Ti because of decreased electromotive force demands due to much higher electric resistance, which consequences in inexpensive equipment in cyclic applications. Copper based metals are less stable and more brickle than Ni-Ti. Although less expensive, Cu based metals have found small blessing for applications.

Future Tendencies

Current surveies at the University of OULU have been conducted in order to show that bone mold can be controlled by utilizing a functional implant such as a NiTi nail which can be used to flex a normal shaft of the long bone. The method could besides be applied reciprocally, such as unbending a distorted bone. Fractures and particularly frequent breaks lead to angular malformation and obeisance of long castanetss. Operative intervention has normally consisted of cortical osteotomies with dramatis personae, internal arrested development, or external arrested development ( Kujala, 2003 ) . However, these are comparatively big operations with much postoperative hurting and a hazard for complications. Implantation of a bending rod would be a much smaller operation for the patient with decreased postoperative recovery. It might even be possible to infix the nails utilizing minimally invasive techniques which would necessitate a infinitesimal scratch. Therefore, the functional nail presented might supply an easier, quicker, cheaper, and less painful manner to rectify such bone malformations in the hereafter.

In add-on, Prototype piping in atomic reactors has been wound with pre-stretched Ni-Ti wire, which leaves really high compressive emphasiss in the pipe. Tennis racket strings have been tested in China and the USA with both states claiming public presentation superior to bing twine stuffs ( Deurig, 1995 ) . Furthermore, a assortment of muffling applications are being examined including such motivated undertakings as railway wheel tyres and muffling mechanisms for suspension Bridgess.

Furthermore, the maximal Ms temperature achieved in Ni-Ti binary metals is 100 grades Celsius and for several old ages scientists have searched extensively for ways to increase this. Ms temperature or Martensite start temperature is the temperature at which the transmutation from austenite to martensite Begins on chilling. Until merely two old ages ago the lone alloys demoing hope were highly expensive metals such as Ti- Pd-Ni and Ti-Pt-Ni. Recently, nevertheless two new metals are demoing a great trade of promise, Ni-Ti-Hf and Ni-Ti-Zr31. These metals prove that transmutation temperatures of over 300 grades C are possible ( Deurig, 1995 ) . However, it is excessively early to cognize what the cost of the metals will be and if other belongingss will be every bit good as the original metals. Fortunately, these first indicants seem positive. One advantage if such an Ms temperature is possible would include the usage of nitinol in circuit surfs and in automotive applications.


Shape memory metals are rapidly going a common stuff used in medical applications today. The inauspicious utilizations of metals, such as nitinol, let for improved stents, catheters, bone home bases, medical processs, and more. These advanced stuffs are assisting to determine medical engineering for the hereafter. Through their lastingness and unusual art for altering form they have become the hereafter of medical stuff.


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