A new generation of high performance shape memory alloys is developed for use in space devices
One of the most used actuator type is the pyro-actuator i.e. actuator based on explosive technology. These actuators are used for their fast response, high reliability, low mass and low cost. However they are hazardous and single use items. Their operation induces shocks and can generate pollution. They are therefore not adequate for propulsion lines. Solenoid and paraffin actuators are then used but they also have many drawbacks. For propulsion lines, actuators should be slow acting and multiple use low mass actuators. Indeed, this allows the opening and closure of latch valves used for highly sensible fluid that cannot handle hammer effect. Another application requiring the same actuator characteristics is the deployment of solar panels. For these applications, good candidates are actuators based on shape memory alloys technology.