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NiTiNOL
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Luke Houseman
(Prblysolid) - F
NiTiNOL on 05/17/2010 20:26:29 MDT Print View

I have been pondering the subject of NiTiNOL for usage as a building material. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is a titanium alloy that is reasonably expensive, but has an ability to "remember" a form when subjected to temperature changes. For additional info, wikipedia gives a brief summary of its properties and possible uses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitinol.

I was thinking something along the lines of reinforcement (sewn into fabric panels) to offer semi-rigid structural members. This would allow a normally flat tarp to remember its shape when unfurled, but I imagine this exciting material could have a whole host of other uses, such as a tent that could be assembled by simply pouring some warm water on it to make it revert to its original shape. This concept, however expensive and impractical, would be insanely cool . However, I have had no first-hand experience with NiTiNOL, but if anyone has, I would love to hear how your endeavors fared.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Locale: LawsonEquipment.com
Coolest Metal Ever on 05/17/2010 20:51:21 MDT Print View

I saw a Youtube video with this metal a while back and think it's the coolest thing I have ever seen. I always imagined using it for collapsible metal cookware..

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Fork on 05/18/2010 16:56:50 MDT Print View

One possible usage that might make sense is an eating utensil. If you had a NiTiNOL utensil you could roll or scrunch it up into a ball for easy storage. Then when you're ready to eat you could dip it in your hot water (that you probably have on hand) and it would unfold to be a spoon or fork.

Edited by dandydan on 05/18/2010 16:57:21 MDT.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
NiTiNOL on 05/18/2010 20:34:18 MDT Print View

My main experience with NiTiNOL comes from being introduced to the inventor at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory ( The NOL in NiTiNOL for a Nickle Titanium Ni Ti alloy developed there in the 1970's).

Since the 1970's, I have watched countless people "discover" this amazing stuff and speculate endlessly on the wonderful things they could create.

Very few of them made it to market.

Thirty years later, it is still happening - the exciting "rediscovery" phenomena.

There are significant limitations on the forces that you can develop, and the geometry changes you can generate from the microstructural mechanisms responsible for the phenomena.

I would urge those interested to try to explore those limitations as their first steps.