Nitinol combines two closely related unique characteristics: shape memory and superelasticity.
Shape memory gives Nitinol the ability to be deformed at one temperature, and then return to its original shape when being heated to its transformation temperature. This effect is caused by the material changing from its low temperature monoclinic martensitic structure to the high temperature cubic austenitic structure. Transformation temperatures in our finished Nitinol wire range from -15°C to +22°C, depending on the grade of Nitinol used. Shape memory Nitinol wire can be used to develop implants that may be delivered into the body in a compact shape and then activated into their functional form once they have been deployed.
Superelasticity occurs at temperatures just above the transformation temperature and allows the material to recover from up to 8% strain with a permanent set of 0.5% or less.