Size effect on the optimum actuation condition for SMA-composites

Chi Kin Poon, Li Min Zhou, Lai Hang Yam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Techniques of using shape memory alloy (SMA) wires as actuators inside the hybrid composites have been studied extensively for improving mechanical properties of structures. There were many experimental findings and theoretical predictions agreed the higher the actuation temperature on built-in SMA wires, the greater the improvement in mechanical response of a composite due to recovery action of wires. However, due to the limitation of interfacial shear strength, over-actuation (by means of electrical resistive heating) of SMA wire is able to induce the development of interfacial crack inside the composite structure. When the maximum interfacial shear strength is attained due to vigorous recovery action of SMA wire under relatively high temperature, interfacial debond can be initiated. In this paper, a typical SMA-matrix cylinder model is employed to study the captioned risk of SMA-composite actuation. Applying the criterion of optimum actuation condition (OAC), target actuation level can be determined to prevent structural failure due to over-actuation. Effects of geometric factors including wire embedded length and matrix-to-wire radius ratio on the interfacial shear stress distribution are evaluated prior to the study of size effect on OAC. Results indicate that the size effect become negligible when these two geometric factors are sufficiently large and as a result, the governing equation of OAC can be greatly reduced to a simple relation between externally applied stress and actuation temperature on the SMA wire. This simplified model is able to enhance the application of OAC and provide a simple and explicit solution to determine an ideal range of actuation levels for a large scale SMA-composite structure in the design stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-511
Number of pages9
JournalComposite Structures
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


  • Interfacial shear strength
  • Optimum actuation condition
  • SMA-composites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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