For our final Emily Webster and I decided to explore SMA(shape memory alloys) specifically Nitinol Wire, better known as muscle wire.
This is an alloy which has has some interesting properties. Specifically it’s an alloy that can retain a memory shape. When a charge is run through the wire, the resistance creates heat, which contracts the metal, allowing it to be a “lightweight, solid-state alternative to conventional motor-based systems.” SMA applications are widespread, and are most often used in the medical field for things like heart valves, stents and sutures.
For the final, we’d like to use this wire to create a piece which responds to it’s environment. We will harness the power of the sun to make an interactive, sustainable, local, experiential, green, organic, grass-fed, autonomous creation.
In general, the contraction percentage of the metal is about 5% of its length. Because the degree of movement is a function of its size we know we’ll be coiling the wire to increase it’s overall length. After some additional testing, we’ve gotten the wire to respond properly by giving it about 6V and 2.4 amps (4 AA batteries in series).