Nitinol Rollar Ball Demo...

This very simple device rolls a small ball back and forth inside a clear straw. It was made to demostrate how Nitinol actuator wires continue working over a fixed range of motion for years. It operates about 20,000 cycles per day. It also happens to be a good way to introduce others to actuator wire
Nitinol Rolling Ball $24.95

Nitinol Butterfly
Another Nitinol demonstration of long life and durability, its beautiful lifelike motion makes it a great gift as well. It may be used with flowers in a lifelike setting or as a stand alone somewhere, perhaps a computer top. 
Nitinol Butterfly $34.95

This is a fully functional electric valve made with Nitinol. It permits proportional control of the air or fluid flow. When voltage is applied the Nitinol inside contracts, opening the valve.
Nitinol valve $17.95

Nitinol Switch covers
A simple add on to the standard size industrial switches, this cover enables one to make inexpensive relays by snapping together two plastic parts to hold the cover over the push button. One can also experiment with circuit protection cutoffs using the same device. By simply substituting different sizes of Nitinol actuator wire one gets a different current rating to work with. These cut offs can also be used to protect your Nitinol wire samples while doing development work. For example, putting an .008" diameter wire on the switch in series with a .006"diameter Nitinol product will permit plenty of current to pass through the .006" wire and dheat it very qucikly, but will shut the switch off if too much passes through it.
Nitinol Switch Covers $55.00

Nitinol Wire Loops
Make your own thermobile, heat engine or something better. Wire diameter 12.5 mils, wire length, approximately 14" welded into a loop.
Nitinol Wire Loops $35.00

Live Wire
Fun and educational!  It changes crystal structure as it is warmed or cooled, so that its basic properties are varied.  One consequence is that it had a shape memory.  You bend it while cold, then heat it, and it will straighten quite forcefully.  You can modify the remembered shape by annealing the wire.  While holding the wire with two pairs of pliers, choose a new shape and hold it in a candle flame until it is slightly red and stops trying to straighten.  Dip it into ice water, then straighten it.  Now when you heat it, it will "remember" the new shape in which it was annealed.  You now have "trained" the wire.  As you work with the wire, its performance will improve.
Live Wire

Nitinol Wire
Nitinol is available precrimped, or you can crimp your own.  There are two kinds of crimps available: ring terminals and barrel crimps (see diagram below).
Ring Terminal
Barrel Crimp

W = .156
L = .375
E = .290
C = .109
Insul. Size = .035 - .065
Stud Size / Diameter = .094
Stock Thk. = .012
Material and Finish = Brass
W = .078
L = .047
H = .037

When Nitinol actuator wire is use per the following guidelines one can expect the nitinol wire to last tens of millions of cycles. On the other hand, if stresses and overheating due to higher current densities are imposed upon the nitinol actuator wire, good motion may only be obtained for a few thousand or few hundred cycles, depending upon the severity of the stresses induced. In many cases, heating of the wire is accomplished by passing an electrical current through the nitinol actuator wire. Care should be taken to heat, but not overheat the actuator wire. The following chart provides guidelines to follow.

Diameter Size (inches) Resistance (Ohms/Inch) Maximum Pull Force (gms.) Approximate Current at Room Temperature (mA) Contration Time (seconds) Off Time 70 C Wire (seconds)
0.006 1.3 330 400 1 2.0
0.008 0.8 590 610 1 3.5
0.010 0.5 930 1000 1 5.5
0.012 0.33 1250 1750 1 8.0
0.015 0.2 2000 2750 1 13.0

Please note contraction time is directly related to electric current imposed. The guidelines are only approximations, since other factors like ambient temperature, air currents, and heat sinking will vary with specific devices.

Nitinol Wire Price List (cost per foot)
Diameter Size (inches) Maximum Pull Force (gms.) Unit Price
0.006 330 $5.00 / ft
0.008 590 $5.00 / ft
0.010 930 $5.00 / ft
0.012 1250 $7.50 / ft
0.015 2000 $12.50 / ft
Order Nitinol Wire Precrimped with Terminals:
1 - 100
101 - 2,500
2,501 - 10,000
10,000 +
$0.75 / each
$0.25 / each
$0.20 / each
Call for quote
Please note there is a $30.00 setup fee with each new crimping order.  When calculating your assembly costs remember to add the cost of the Nitinol wire used (see wire price list).
Note: Crimps cannot be sold as stand alone units.
Nitinol Booklet $ 7.50

Nitinol is the proper name for shape memory alloy actuator wires.  It was invented in 1962 by the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, who were seeking a corrosion resistant alloy.  In the process, they discovered a shape memory alloy (Nitinol is an acronym for "NIckel TItanium Naval Ordnance Laboratory") made of 55% nickel and 45% titanium.  Its operation resembles that of a muscle; it contracts when heated.  Many times current is passed through the wire to heat the wire electrically (ohmic heating).  When the current is removed, it cools and can easily be stretched back it its original length.  Please note this process is the opposite of thermal expansion.  In addition the thermal movement (contraction-expansion) is a hundred fold larger than standard metals.

This internal "solid state" restructuring can be applied to any task requiring physical movement in confined places with low to moderate cycling speeds.  The small size, low power requirements, ease of use, silent operation and low cost of Nitinol wires outshine that of any small motor or solenoid, and can be easily integrated into existing designs.

Some advantages of using Nitinol inlcude:

| Nitinol Article | Images Home Page | Online Catalog | Order Form |