Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Saeed B. Niku


A series of tests were performed on nickel-titanium alloy wire, also known as nitinol, to determine the plausibility of designing an actuator using this wire as the method of actuation. These tests have been designed to fully characterize how the wire behaves under steady state and transient conditions allowing for a specific wire selection to be made given known actuator specifications which will result in an efficient design. The wire transient data can be used to design a controller which reduces the actuation time. The research done for the overall project covers a wide scope including wire hysteresis, nitinol transition temperature, variable wire resistance, wire actuation as a function of current and pull force, cable fabrication, and wire actuation control to optimize performance. Using these test results, a prototype actuator has been designed using nitinol wire. It has been determined that an actuator can be efficiently designed using this material.