Wire Or Other Stranded Element Patents (Class 337/140)
  • Patent number: 10468218
    Abstract: The present invention provides a relay with a shape memory alloy (SMA) wire driven mechanism. Conventional mechanical relays rely on electromagnetic principle to operate. Hence, magnetic fields of electromagnetic relays often interfere with magnetic fields of other electrical components, thus resulting in the components physically interfering with each other. The present invention utilizes the shape memory characteristics of a SMA wire to achieve the purpose of changing the operation of the relay. Specifically, when a SMA wire is heated, it restores to its original shape or original length. Comparing to conventional mechanical relays, the relay provided by the present invention does not magnetically interfere with other electrical components, and thus is able to function effectively. In addition, because the relay of the present invention does not require iron cores or coils, available space therein is increased and may be used to accommodate control circuits with various functions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 19, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Assignee: ISSA Technology CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Chi-Wei Chiu, Tso-Hsiang Wu
  • Patent number: 10337635
    Abstract: A shape-memory alloy valve device includes a shape-memory alloy wire configured to make a valve member perform an opening/closing operation and a valve actuation control unit configured to control an opening/closing operation of the valve member. The valve actuation control unit controls energization of the shape-memory alloy wire in accordance with an input valve open signal or an input valve close signal so as to make the shape-memory alloy wire contract by raising a temperature of the shape-memory alloy wire beyond an operating environmental temperature, thereby controlling valve opening/closing. A preheating unit heats the shape-memory alloy wire to a preset preheat set temperature by energizing the shape-memory alloy wire from a power circuit when the temperature of the shape-memory alloy wire which is measured by a temperature measurement unit is lower than the preheat set temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2019
    Assignee: TAKASAGO ELECTRIC, INC.
    Inventors: Naoya Asai, Hiroyuki Sugiura
  • Patent number: 10280904
    Abstract: An exemplary rotational assembly includes a base having a circular collar and first and second arms that rotate about the circular collar in opposite angular directions. In a stored state the arms have substantially the same angle relative to the circular collar; in a deployed state the arms have rotated into opposing positions. Each end of a Nitinol wire is coupled to the first and second arms and contracts when heated by the flow of electrical current. This contraction causes the simultaneously application of a rotational force to the first and second arms causing the first and second arms to rotate about the circular collar in opposite angular directions. The simultaneous counter rotating angular forces during rotation of the arms causes no substantial change in angular inertia at the base.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: NORTHROP GRUMMAN SYSTEMS CORPORATION
    Inventors: Gregory L. Larson, Peter A. Barnett
  • Patent number: 10233883
    Abstract: A fuel injector includes a fuel valve including a valve needle and a valve seat for controlling a flow of fuel through the injector. The fuel injector also includes an electromagnetic actuator with a solenoid and an armature that lifts the valve needle from the valve seat in an opening direction while the solenoid is electrically energized. The fuel injector also includes a housing in which the valve needle and the armature are received such that they are displaceable in reciprocating fashion with respect to the housing and with respect to one another. A spring is arranged between the armature and the housing, for pushing the armature against the valve needle in the opening direction, wherein the spring provides a hysteretic relationship between force and displacement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: CONTINENTAL AUTOMOTIVE GMBH
    Inventors: Francesco Lenzi, Stefano Filippi, Mauro Grandi, Valerio Polidori
  • Patent number: 10196714
    Abstract: Disclosed is a shape memory alloy. The shape memory alloy is composed of Ti, Ni and Si, wherein Si is contained in an amount of 0.1 to 0.3 at. %.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Assignee: INDUSTRY-ACADEMIC COOPERATION FOUNDATION GYEONGSANG NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
    Inventors: Tae-Hyeon Nam, Gyu-bong Cho
  • Patent number: 10174745
    Abstract: One embodiment of an electro-mechanical actuator, comprised of a braid (1) of insulated wires of shape memory material, trained to a contracted length, connected at the ends to primary fixture (2) and secondary fixture (3). These fixtures guide the electrical path through the braid from the electrical power source (4), in a winding path through the braid (5-10), and to electrical ground (11). Other embodiments are described and shown.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2019
    Inventor: Austin Russell Gurley
  • Patent number: 9964099
    Abstract: A device for holding and deploying apparatus for use in space includes a fixed body and a movable body coaxially connected to each other through balls displaceable from a retention position to a release position, and a shape memory alloy actuator remote-controllable to displace the balls from the retention position to the release position and the ensuing separation of the moveable body from the fixed body under the action of axial thrust elastic means. The shape memory alloy actuator consists of a torsionally-deformable bar.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: AEREA S.P.A.
    Inventor: Ruggero Cassanelli
  • Patent number: 9664182
    Abstract: An SMA wire actuating element is described, having a shape memory alloy wire intended to be operably connected to an actuatable element of an actuator device, and a first and a second elongated elements made of a non-SMA material. The elongated elements are respectively restrained at a first end thereof to the ends of the shape memory alloy wire by way of crimping means of the SMA wire actuating element. The SMA wire actuating element further has a first and a second connection means intended to be operably connected to a body of the actuator device. The elongated elements are respectively restrained at a second end thereof to the connection means, whereby the portion of each elongated element comprised between its first and second ends is free to move between the crimping means and the connection means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2017
    Assignee: SAES GETTERS S.P.A.
    Inventors: Emanuele Nicolini, Stefano Alacqua
  • Patent number: 9611838
    Abstract: A mechanical actuator is disclosed. The mechanical actuator can comprise an interface portion configured to interface with an object, a spring configured to exert a force on the interface portion, and a shape memory member coupled to the interface portion. The shape memory member can be configured to fracture at a predetermined temperature range. Upon fracture of the shape memory member, the force of the spring can cause the interface portion to act on the object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2017
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Frederick B. Koehler, Ward D. Lyman, Michael J. Birch
  • Patent number: 9543753
    Abstract: A protection device is provided for electric appliances suitable for selectively connecting an electric appliance to a power supply line. The protection device includes a metal plate member, a composite metal blade, an insulating block for supporting the metal plate member and the composite metal blade, and a compensating resistor made en bloc with the metal plate member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 10, 2017
    Assignee: Electrica S.r.l.
    Inventor: Fabrizio Rotulo
  • Patent number: 9465060
    Abstract: An apparatus for connecting an electrical measurement system, which includes at least a first and a second conductor, to a movable object to measure at least one of a temperature and an electrical resistivity of the movable object includes a first and a second connector, and a first and a second contact wire. The first and the second contact wires are electrically communicable with the first and the second conductors, respectively, and are wound around at least a portion of the first and the second connectors, respectively, such that the first and the second contact wires are engageable with the movable object at a first and a second contact point, respectively. The first and the second contact wires each has a polarity. The first and the second connectors are made of a material having a higher electrical and thermal resistivity than the first and the second contact wires.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Menashe Barak, Mario Jodorkovsky
  • Patent number: 9425014
    Abstract: A circuit interruption device includes a support, a set of separable contacts, a first member movable between an OFF position and an ON position, a second member, and a transport mechanism that includes a shape memory alloy element. When the first member is in the OFF position, the second member is in an extended position, the shape memory alloy element is in its first shape, and the first surface and the another first surface are engaged with one another and resist movement of the first member away from the OFF position. Responsive to an electrical pulse, the shape memory alloy element transforms into its second shape and moves the first member toward the ON position. When the second member is in the extended position, the another second surface engages with the second surface to resist movement of the first member away from the ON position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2016
    Assignee: LABINAL LLC
    Inventors: Patrick Wellington Mills, James Michael McCormick, David Michael Geier
  • Patent number: 9236207
    Abstract: A deformable bi-stable device includes an elastically deformable member having at least two stable configurations and capable of being deformed from a first stable configuration to a second stable configuration, the element passing through an unstable configuration as it is deformed from the first stable configuration to the second stable configuration, and a shape memory polymer layer on or in the elastically deformable member. A method of using this device includes heating the shape memory polymer to a temperature sufficient to reduce the modulus of the shape memory polymer, deforming the deformable member to move from one of the first and second stable configurations to another of the first and second stable configurations, and cooling the device to a temperature sufficient to increase the modulus of the shape memory polymer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 12, 2016
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Andrew C. Keefe, Guillermo A. Herrera
  • Patent number: 9127483
    Abstract: A device for cycling a component between a first condition and a second condition includes an element and a reset apparatus connected to and driven by the element. The element is formed from a shape memory alloy, wherein the alloy is transitionable between a martensite crystallographic phase and an austenite crystallographic phase in response to a thermal energy source. The apparatus is actuatable by the element from an initial state in which the alloy has the martensite phase and the component is in the first condition, to an actuated state in which the alloy has the austenite phase and the component is in the second condition. The apparatus is resettable from the actuated state to a reset state in which the alloy transitions from the austenite to the martensite phase while the component is in the first condition, and further resettable from the reset state to the initial state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 8, 2015
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Shivaram Ac, Vidyashankar R. Buravalla, Paul W. Alexander
  • Publication number: 20150048921
    Abstract: A bistable electric switch is described. The switch has as actuators a pair of opposing SMA wires acting on a drive element integral with a snap-action spring so as to toggle the snap-action spring between two stable positions corresponding to two operating positions of the switch, the drive element being shorter than the distance existing between the two opposing SMA wires when one of the SMA wires is contracted and the other SMA wire is uncontracted. The entire force exerted by the activated SMA wire is used to overcome the resistance of the snap-action spring.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 22, 2012
    Publication date: February 19, 2015
    Inventors: Stefano Alacqua, Francesco Butera
  • Patent number: 8833071
    Abstract: The invention relates to an adaptive spring, damping or hinge system having functional characteristics that are adaptable to various operating conditions, with provision being made for at least one adaptive spring system or a damping or hinge system formed of shape memory material to be activatable in such a manner that by subjecting it to heating or to an annealing treatment, the spring, damping or hinge characteristics may be modified in operation condition, and/or that at least one variable actuator element formed of a shape memory material is provided and is capable of changing the spring, damping or hinge characteristics of the adaptive system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2014
    Assignee: FG-Innovation GmbH
    Inventors: Sven Langbein, Alexander Czechowicz
  • Patent number: 8830026
    Abstract: A thermal trip unit for a circuit breaker having a primary conductive path for conducting a load current is provided. The thermal trip unit comprises a shape memory alloy (SMA) member adapted to change from a first shape to a second shape at a predetermined thermal condition, a holding member coupled electrically in series with the circuit breaker primary conductive path, said holding member arranged to operatively support said SMA member, wherein said SMA member is configured and disposed within the circuit breaker to trigger a trip response of the circuit breaker at said predetermined thermal condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2014
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Brian Frederick Mooney, Thomas Frederick Papallo, Brent Charles Kumfer
  • Patent number: 8754740
    Abstract: An electronic implement adapted for use in a circuit, and including a shape memory element, such as a shape memory alloy wire, wherein the element, when activated and/or deactivated, is operable to open, close, or otherwise modify at least one characteristic of the circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 17, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Nicholas William Pinto, Paul W. Alexander, Nancy L. Johnson
  • Patent number: 8525061
    Abstract: A self-pressurized arc diverter includes a vessel configured to enclose a fusible member disposed in a conductor and a pressure-activated arc diverter. The pressure-activated arc diverter is configured to provide access to a preferred arc path when actuated by pressure in the vessel caused by an arc that is created when the fusible member opens.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 3, 2013
    Assignee: Eaton Corporation
    Inventors: John Joseph Shea, Paul Kimball Parker, James Edward Smith, Michael H. Abrahamsen
  • Patent number: 8319596
    Abstract: A circuit protector includes first and second conductive members. An active material alters at least one attribute in response to an activation signal. The active material is operatively connected to the first and second conductive members to alter the electrical resistance between the first and second members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 19, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2012
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Nicholas W. Pinto, IV, Paul W. Alexander, Nancy L. Johnson
  • Patent number: 8245896
    Abstract: A hand-operated drive-in power tool for fastening elements is disclosed. The tool has a drive arrangement for a drive-in ram displaceably arranged in a guide, which has at least one drive element for the drive-in ram made at least partially of an elastomer that is tensible via a tensioning device. To improve the drive-in power tool, a heating device for the at least one elastomer drive element is provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2012
    Assignee: Hilti Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Hans Gschwend, Robert Spasov
  • Patent number: 7978045
    Abstract: A multi-actuation MEMS switch for high frequency signals includes a substrate, a heater disposed on the substrate, a co-planar waveguide disposed on a lowest metal layer, and a movable membrane including at least two metal layers, and an dielectric layer disposed between the co-planar waveguide and the movable membrane. The movable membrane is a fixed-fixed beam structure with a center indentation. When heat is generated and conducted to the movable membrane or electrostatic force is generated between the movable membrane and the co-planar waveguide or both forces are generated, the movable membrane will bend toward the co-planar waveguide. The position of the movable membrane change capacitance on signal line for switching the RF signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 12, 2011
    Assignee: Industrial Technology Research Institute
    Inventors: Chiung-I Lee, Chin-Hung Wang
  • Patent number: 7928826
    Abstract: An electrical switching device employs an actuator mechanism formed of a shape memory alloy (SMA). The electrical switching device includes a housing, at least one non-actuated electrical contact supported in the housing, and an actuator assembly contained within the housing. The actuator assembly includes a movable contact for engaging the non-actuated electrical contact and an actuator formed of a shape memory alloy (SMA). Application of a first electrical current to the actuator causes the actuator to move the movable contact to either engage or disengage the non-actuated electrical contact.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2011
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Gerard A. Woychik, Susan M. Olson, Ryan J. Legge, Bryan S. McCoy
  • Patent number: 7852190
    Abstract: An electrical switching device includes a housing, a base attached to the housing, two non-actuated electrical contacts supported in the housing, and an actuator assembly contained within the housing. The actuator assembly includes a movable contact for engaging the non-actuated electrical contact and a wire element formed of a shape memory alloy. Applying an electric current to the wire element causes the actuator to either pivot or rotate the movable contact to either engage or disengage the non-actuated electrical contacts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: December 14, 2010
    Assignee: Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    Inventors: Gerard A. Woychik, Ryan J. Legge, Matthew W. Jenski
  • Patent number: 7839260
    Abstract: At the time of start of usage, a voltage to be applied to a shape memory alloy wire 102 by a feedback control circuit 120 is set to a first voltage value (step S1), and at a limit resistance value detection step, (the feedback control circuit) measures a limit resistance value when the shape memory alloy wire 102 can be contracted (step S2), and upon storing the limit resistance value, a value of the maximum voltage to be input by the feedback control circuit 120 is set to a second voltage value (step S3). At an input electric power optimization step, a target resistance value is indicated, and the feedback control is carried out such that the resistance value indicated is not lower than the limit resistance value (step S4). Thereafter, voltage is stopped at the time of stopping the use of the actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2010
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventor: Masaya Takahashi
  • Patent number: 7764159
    Abstract: A shape-memory actuator device comprises means for interrupting electrical supply to a shape-memory element when the axial load applied to said element exceeds a predetermined threshold value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2010
    Assignee: C.R.F. Societá Consortile per Azioni
    Inventors: Alessandro Zanella, Stefano Alacqua, Francesco Butera
  • Patent number: 7688533
    Abstract: A drive apparatus having: a shape memory alloy having a property such that a temperature transformation sensitivity in a temperature range from a starting point of austenite transformation (As) at a predetermined stress to an end point of austenite (Af) is higher than a temperature transformation sensitivity in other temperature range, and a temperature transformation sensitivity in a temperature range from a starting point of martensite transformation (Ms) at a predetermined stress to an end point of martensite transformation (Mf) is higher than a temperature transformation sensitivity in other temperature range; and a driven member which is moved by a transformation of the shape memory alloy; wherein the driven member is moved in a temperature range of higher temperature transformation sensitivity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 30, 2010
    Assignee: Konica Minolta Opto, Inc.
    Inventors: Shigeru Wada, Nobuya Miki
  • Patent number: 7414512
    Abstract: An operating device has a pair of linear members (43, 44) made of a shape memory alloy and contracting axially due to heat generated by electrification and generating tension in the contracting direction, a drive lever (19) supported to pivot about a pivot shaft (19a), a pair of drive rods (33, 34) respectively connected to both sides of the drive lever (19) with the pivot shaft (19a) being disposed between the sides of the drive lever (19), and a power supply circuit for selectively electrifying the linear members (43, 44). One end of each of the linear members (43, 44) is fixed to a stationary member, and the other end is connected to each of the drive rods (33, 34).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2004
    Date of Patent: August 19, 2008
    Assignee: Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Kenji Kubo, Isao Shinohara
  • Patent number: 7372355
    Abstract: A device to actuate a switch. The switch has a switch toggle movable between a first position and a second position. The device includes a switch yoke movable between the first position and the second position adapted to engage the switch toggle and move therewith. The device also includes a first linkage connected to the switch yoke. The first linkage applies a force in response to an input signal to move the switch yoke from the first position to the second position. The first linkage includes a shape memory alloy. The device is configured to permit manual actuation of the switch toggle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 13, 2008
    Assignee: Black & Decker Inc.
    Inventors: Michael L Agronin, James D Marshall, Rafe D Bennett, Joe Rogers, Robert H Gifford, Carolyn M Martin
  • Patent number: 7268660
    Abstract: A low battery indicating device is disclosed for indicating that a battery has low power. The device includes an indicator having a body movable between a retracted, unactuated position and an extended, actuated position. The indicator is visible when in the actuated position. The device also includes means for biasing the indicator towards the actuated position, and latch means cooperating with a portion of the body of the indicator, when the latch means is in a stop position, to hold the indicator in its unactuated position. The latch means is movable between the stop position and a go position which frees the indicator to move, under operation of the biasing means, to the actuated position. A memory alloy wire is mechanically associated with the latch means so as to leave the latch means in the stop position when the memory alloy wire is in a relaxed state and to move the latch means to the go position when the memory alloy wire is in a contracted state caused by heating of the memory alloy wire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 2004
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2007
    Assignee: Contech Electronics loc.
    Inventors: Gerry Bolda, Paul Johnston, Jordon Reynolds
  • Patent number: 6972659
    Abstract: A mechanical release mechanism is provided. The mechanical release mechanism includes two structural members in slideable relation one to another. A latch holds one structural member in a latched position relative to the other structural member. A shape memory alloy member disposed within one of the structural members is used to move the latch holding the other structural member thereby allowing relative motion between the structural members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 6, 2005
    Inventors: Peter Emery von Behrens, Dylan Miller Fairbanks, Kathryn Ann Broughton
  • Patent number: 6917276
    Abstract: A bistable shape memory alloy (SMA) micro-switch includes a single continuous SMA element such as a nitinol wire that provides bi-directional motion for switching functions. Bifunctional contact arms provide a mechanical force to maintain an open state of the micro-switch in addition to conducting current through a circuit. The SMA element includes first and second segments that are alternately heated above a transition temperature to cause the SMA element to alternate between first and second conformations. A cursor attached to the SMA element moves from a first position to a second position as the SMA element moves from its first to its second conformation. To close the SMA micro-switch, the contact arm is moved from an open position to a closed position through sliding contact with the cursor as the cursor moves from its second position to its first position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 12, 2005
    Assignee: Simpler Networks
    Inventors: Stefane Menard, Jean-Claude Villeneuve, Normand Lassonde, Michel Decarie
  • Patent number: 6851260
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy actuator comprising a body (1) connected through an arm (5) with an activating member (15), the body (1) being arranged for rotation around a pivot (2) and connected to a first wire (9) and a second wire (10) of a shape memory alloy such as nitinol and to a biasing means such as a tension spring (6) such that heating and therefore shortening of the wire (10) rotates the body (1) counter-clockwise such that the tension spring (6) is in its cocked position while heating (shortening) of the wire (9) and cooling (lengthening) of the wire (10) to the position shown in 10a rotates the body (1) clockwise past a balance point for the tension spring (16) whereafter the body (1) rotates further clockwise under the influence of the tension spring (6), thereby exerting a relatively powerful actuation of the activating member (15), the whole cyclus being repeated by heating wire (10) causing it to shorten and rotate the body (1) counter-clockwise until the spring (6) is cocked again.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2005
    Assignee: M 2 Medical A/S
    Inventor: Morten Mernøe
  • Patent number: 6762669
    Abstract: A shape memory actuator includes a shape memory actuator element for biasing an actuated member from an initial rest position to an operative position against the action of return spring means. Holding means are associated with the actuator element for holding the actuated member in its operative position even when the shape memory actuator element is deactivated. These holding means can be deactivated with a subsequent activation of the shape memory actuator element, allowing the actuated member to return to its rest position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2004
    Assignee: C.R.F. Societa Consortile per Azioni
    Inventors: Stefano Alacqua, Francesco Butera, Bartolomeo Pairetti
  • Patent number: 6747541
    Abstract: An improved spool assembly for non-explosive actuators used in electro-mechanical structural separation devices. The spool assembly includes two spool halves each having external surfaces and a generally flat internal surface, a unitary and integral internal member made of an electrically conductive material and having a link-wire portion and two electrical terminal portions, and an external wrap-wire wound around the two spool halves and having a connecting end connected to the link-wire portion of the unitary and integral internal member such that the wrap-wire tightly binds the two spool halves together to form a spool for retaining an external structural member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2004
    Assignee: G&H Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Andrew Holt, Jui-Yu Wu, Matthew Dalton, Patrick Laughlin
  • Patent number: 6744344
    Abstract: A disconnect switch for the load circuit of a vehicle battery, includes a movable contact element (81) and a stationary contact element (64) that are linked with a locking mechanism. For releasing the locking mechanism a shape-memory alloy release element (4) is used that contracts when heated. For closing the locking mechanism a shape-memory alloy spring element (110) is provided that induces closure of the mechanism by expansion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 1, 2004
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Markus Geuder, Stefan Kautz, Matthias Marondel
  • Patent number: 6685303
    Abstract: An apparatus for a thermal actuator for a micromechanical device, especially a liquid drop emitter such as an ink jet printhead, is disclosed. The disclosed thermal actuator comprises a base element and a cantilevered element extending from the base element and normally residing at a first position before activation. The cantilevered element includes a first layer constructed of an electrically resistive material, such as titanium aluminide, patterned to have a first resistor segment and a second resistor segment each extending from the base element; a coupling device that conducts electrical current serially between the first and second resistor segments; and a second layer constructed of a dielectric material having a low coefficient of thermal expansion and attached to the first layer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 3, 2004
    Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company
    Inventors: David P. Trauernicht, Edward P. Furlani, John A. Lebens
  • Patent number: 6603386
    Abstract: A bi-stable microswitch (1) including a pair of contacts (6, 7) and an armature (4) movable between a first position and a second position to selectively make or break the pair of contacts, the armature being latched in the second position by a shape memory alloy latch (14), wherein the shape memory alloy latch is caused to deform upon heating so as to permit the armature to return to the first position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2003
    Assignee: Alcatel
    Inventors: Dinesh Kumar Sood, Ronald Barry Zmood
  • Patent number: 6591610
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for converting waste heat from a low temperature heat source, such as an electrical component, to work energy and for efficiently transferring unconverted or remaining waste heat away from the heat source. The apparatus includes a chamber having a first location adapted to receive heat from the heat source, and a second location adapted to dissipate heat transferred via an acoustic wave in the chamber. The acoustic wave may be produced by a first vibration member coupled to an interior surface of the chamber and disposed at an end of the chamber, where the first vibration member is adapted to vibrate at a resonant frequency of the chamber. Alternatively, a first and a second vibration member that are both adapted to vibrate at the resonant frequency of the chamber may be disposed equidistant from opposing ends of the chamber to produce a standing acoustic wave within the chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2001
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2003
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventors: Kazuaki Yazawa, Avram Bar-Cohen
  • Patent number: 6570749
    Abstract: An over-current and thermal protection device adaptable for use as an electrical interrupt and in a battery environment. The protection device has a pair electrical conductors, an electrically conductive resilient switch member engageable in contact with the conductors to define an electrical conductivity pathway. The switch member is actuated by a thermally responsive shape memory alloy strip and activatable in response to a change in temperature at a predetermined level to effect a change in the metallurgical state of the shape memory alloy and position of the engagement of the switch member with one of the conductors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2003
    Assignee: Advanced Battery Technology LTD
    Inventors: Peter Ling, Doug Magnuson
  • Publication number: 20030076215
    Abstract: Split spool release apparatus for retaining and deploying a deployable appendage. Exemplary apparatus comprises a housing which houses a split spool clamping device, a release nut attached to the deployable appendage, a locking mechanism or fuse assembly, and an actuator. The split spool clamping device comprises a plurality of separable sections that secure the release nut and deployable appendage using the restraining wire that is wrapped around them. In one embodiment, the split spool clamping device may comprises a threaded split-nut. The restraining wire is preferably wrapped using variable pretension, having low tension at the fuse end and higher tension at the nut end (load application end). The fuse assembly is coupled to the restraining wire at a location that is distal from the deployable appendage, and is activated by the actuator to release the restraining wire.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 22, 2001
    Publication date: April 24, 2003
    Inventor: Varouj G. Baghdasarian
  • Publication number: 20020118090
    Abstract: The present invention provides actuators and actuator devices that take advantage of a strain gradient variation of an actuator element between a first phase and a second phase. The actuator elements can be positioned in any type of shape. For instance, the actuator element in the first phase can be any type of curved, non-linear or irregular shape as long as a strain gradient along a cross-section of the actuator element can be established. The actuator element in the second phase is positioned in a different shape when compared to the first phase as long as it is in a direction to minimize the strain gradient. Different actions can be generated such as a rotary movement, a linear movement, an expanding movement, or a combined linear and rotary movement. The actuator element could also be configured to generate a linear movement by combining contraction and strain gradient variation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 19, 2001
    Publication date: August 29, 2002
    Inventors: Byong-Ho Park, Friedrich B. Prinz
  • Patent number: 6384707
    Abstract: The present invention provides a bistable switch using a shape memory alloy, and a method for manufacturing the same. More specifically, the bistable switch includes a substrate having at least one power source; a flexible sheet having a first distal end attached to the substrate; a bridge contact formed at a second and opposite distal end of the flexible sheet; and at least one heat activated element connected to a first surface of the flexible sheet and between the second distal end and the power source. During operation, current from the power source passing through the heat activated element to indirectly bend the flexible sheet and short the signal contacts on the substrate with a sustainable force.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2002
    Assignee: Simpler Networks
    Inventor: R. Sjhon Minners
  • Publication number: 20020043456
    Abstract: The present invention discloses devices and a method of fabrication of devices using a shape memory effect, thin film with a compositional gradient through the thickness of the film. Specifically, a NiTi SME thin film is disclosed that can be used in actuators, MEMS devices and flow control. The process of fabrication includes a gradual heating of the target over time during the sputter deposition of a thin film on a substrate under high vacuum, without compositional modification. The resulting thin film exhibits two-way shape memory effect that can be cyclically applied without an external bias force.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2001
    Publication date: April 18, 2002
    Inventors: Ken K. Ho, Gregory P. Carman, Peter A. Jardine
  • Patent number: 6310411
    Abstract: A lock assembly is described for a personal computer. The assembly comprises a lock member movable between a locked position and an unlocked position and a shape memory wire arranged to move the lock member between the lock position and the unlocked position in response to one or more electrical signals that generate currents therein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2001
    Assignee: Hewlett-Packard Company
    Inventor: Franck Viallet
  • Patent number: 6300858
    Abstract: A thermal switch assembly includes a dielectric spacer and a switch blade member of shape memory metal sandwiched between a pair of flat metal plates. The spacer provides a cavity between the plates and the switch blade member has a switch blade portion projecting into the cavity. The switch blade member has a mounting portion engaging one of the metal plates, and the switch blade portion normally is under bending stress in engagement with the other metal plate to provide a current path between the plates. At elevated temperatures, the switch blade portion of shape memory metal moves out of engagement with the other metal plate to interrupt the current path. Fasteners integral with the dielectric spacer cooperate with the metal plates and the switch blade member to hold the switch assembly together with the spacer and the mounting portion of the switch blade member compressively sandwiched between the metal plates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2001
    Assignee: Thermo-O-Disc, Incorporated
    Inventors: James B. Kalapodis, Jerry L. Polles, William F. Quinn
  • Patent number: 6294977
    Abstract: A thermal switch assembly has a contact member of shape memory alloy sandwiched between a pair of electrically conductive outer members. A contact arm on the contact member has a deformed shape at normal temperatures and a recovered shape at elevated temperatures. The contact arm occupies two different positions in its deformed and recovered shapes, and provides a current path between the outer members in one position while interrupting the current path in the other position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2001
    Assignee: Therm-O-Disc, Incorporated
    Inventors: James B. Kalapodis, William F. Quinn
  • Patent number: 6239686
    Abstract: A temperature actuated switch having a resilient switch blade that is movable between open and closed positions and extends perpendicular to an elongated actuator of shape memory alloy. The actuator has an elongated deformed shape at normal temperatures and a contracted recovered shape at an elevated temperature. An end portion of the actuator is attached to the switch blade to provide movement of same between open and closed positions as the actuator changes between its deformed and recovered shapes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 29, 2001
    Assignee: Therm-O-Disc, Incorporated
    Inventors: Philip B. Eder, William F. Quinn, Mark A. Roberts, Richard E. Welch, David W. Clow
  • Patent number: 6236300
    Abstract: The present invention provides a bistable switch using a shape memory alloy, and a method for manufacturing the same. More specifically, the bistable switch includes a substrate having at least one power source; a flexible sheet having a first distal end attached to the substrate; a bridge contact formed at a second and opposite distal end of the flexible sheet; and at least one heat activated element connected to a first surface of the flexible sheet and between the second distal end and the power source. During operation, current from the power source passing through the heat activated element to indirectly bend the flexible sheet and short the signal contacts on the substrate with a sustainable force.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2001
    Inventor: R. Sjhon Minners
  • Patent number: 6191679
    Abstract: A thermal switch having a current carrying switch blade actuator of shape memory metal has a resistance less than 20 milliohms and a contact force greater than 150 grams. The actuator is deformed to less than about 8% strain, and a very hard high strength dielectric material is used for a spacer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2001
    Assignee: Thermo-O-Disc, Incorporated
    Inventors: James B. Kalapodis, William F. Quinn