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Development and study of a new class of shape memory releasable fasteners


Sixty years ago, a new releasable fastener (RF), which is now known by the brand name 'Velcro' was proposed. This RF consists of an array of hooks interlocking with a field of numerous fiber loops, and thus two surface areas are fastened together. The Velcro RF is an example of a successful application which achieved everyday usage.

However, there is a disadvantage with this RF: A sharp sound when pulling apart the two tied parts. This sound may disqualify Velcro RFs in some situations. One of the aims in our proposal is the development of a new RF with the same function as a Velcro RF, but without the sharp sound upon releasing. To achieve this aim, we suggest the use of both the pseudoelastic effect (PE) of the shape memory alloys (SMAs) and permanent magnet (PM) attraction.

Both areas that are to be fastened consist of two regions: the region of SMA hooks and the region of PMs. While the PMs serve to keep the attractive force in the perpendicular direction, the SMA hooks secure the connection mainly in the lateral directions. Another aim is related to modeling the PE. As the PE is an integral part of the RF design, an understanding of the hysteretic behaviour of the SMAs is of substantial importance.

The aim of this theoretical part of the project is to describe the hysteretic behaviour. This aim will be achieved through phenomenological modeling. In the proposal, several disciplines such as material and mechanical engineering, magnetism, etc. meet, and thus the proposed work has a multidisciplinary character which is one of the aims of the work programme.

Since most of the knowledge that is required to achieve the goals of the project was acquired by the proposer during his six years' employment at the Tsing-hua University, through the project a certain knowledge transfer may be realized. The project will help maintain the stable collaboration between the host institution and the Tsinghua University ¿ the place where the proposer of the project has conducted his research.

Call for proposal

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