Nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti) alloys (hereinafter referred to as NT alloys ) are known as alloys that possess both shape memory and super-elastic properties. NT alloys are currently being used in the development of various types of products. In particular, in the medical field NT alloys have recently been used as a material for medical devices such as stents and guide wires in the catheter treatment of vascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction. They significantly contribute to minimally invasive treatments that reduce the burden of medical procedures on the patient's body by utilizing properties characterized by flexibility (super-elasticity) and the ability to return to their original shape even after being excessively deformed.
Metals differ in their ability to return to their original shape after removing an external force (stress) that had been applied to it. The property of being able to return to an original shape after being deformed is referred to “elasticity”. Likewise, the range of deformation is referred to as the “region of elasticity” and the maximum value of the region of elasticity as the “limit of elasticity”. If the deformation exceeds the limit of elasticity, the metal will not be able to return to its original shape and will thus be permanently deformed. NT alloys deformed at a low temperature return to their original shape after being heated to a specified temperature or higher. This type of alloy is referred to as a shape memory alloy. By combining a general-purpose metal spring with a shape memory alloy spring, it is possible to achieve mechanical switching at a specific temperature. Shape memory alloys are especially good at certain tasks such as being used to release heat and steam by closing plugs at low temperatures and opening them at high temperatures.
Furthermore, NT alloys exhibit super-elastic properties at room temperature. Super-elastic alloys can be restored to their original shape even after applying a large deformation to such an extent that would permanently deform general metals such as stainless steel and aluminum. The shape memory and super-elastic properties can be changed by adjusting the composition ratio of Ni and Ti.
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