Properties and medical applications of shape memory alloys

Vol. 50 No. 1, 2009


Daniela Tarniță, D. N. Tarniță, N. Bîzdoacă, I. Mîndrilă, Mirela Vasilescu

One of the most known intelligent material is nitinol, which offers many functional advantages over conventional implantable alloys. Applications of SMA to the biomedical field have been successful because of their functional qualities, enhancing both the possibility and the execution of less invasive surgeries. The biocompatibility of these alloys is one of their most important features. Different applications exploit the shape memory effect (one-way or two-way) and the super elasticity, so that they can be employed in orthopedic and cardiovascular applications, as well as in the manufacture of new surgical tools. Therefore, one can say that smart materials, especially SMA, are becoming noticeable in the biomedical field. Super elastic NiTi has become a material of strategic importance as it allows to overcome a wide range of technical and design issues relating to the miniaturization of medical devices and the increasing trend for less invasive and therefore less traumatic procedures. This paper will consider just why the main properties of shape memory alloys hold so many opportunities for medical devices and will review a selection of current applications.

Corresponding author: Daniela Tarniță, Eng, PhD, e-mail:

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