Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Haluk Karaca


Shape memory alloys and polymers have been extensively researched recently because of their unique ability to recover large deformations. Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are able to recover large deformations compared to shape memory alloys (SMAs), although SMAs have higher strength and are able to generate more stress during recovery.

This project focuses on procedure for fabrication and Finite Element Modeling (FEM) of a shape memory composite actuator. First, SMP was characterized to reveal its mechanical properties. Specifically, glass transition temperature, the effects of temperature and strain rate on compressive response and recovery properties of shape memory polymer were studied. Then, shape memory properties of a NiTi wire, including transformation temperatures and stress generation, were investigated. SMC actuator was fabricated by using epoxy based SMP and NiTi SMA wire. Experimental tests confirmed the reversible behavior of fabricated shape memory composites.

The Finite Element Method was used to model the shape memory composite by using a pre-written subroutine for SMA and defining the linear elastic and plastic properties of SMP. ABQUS software was used to simulate shape memory behavior. Beside the animated model in ABAQUS, constitutive models for SMA and SMP were also developed in MATLAB® by using the material properties obtained from experiments. The results of FEM simulation of SMC were found to be in good agreement with experimental results.