Mass Heated Because Of Resistance To Flow Of Electric Current Patents (Class 60/528)
  • Patent number: 10830302
    Abstract: Vibration isolator systems have continuous frameworks wherein the frameworks are formed for specific applications. The continuous frameworks have linkages and voids formed and located such that frequency, direction and magnitude of vibrations are accounted for. The linkages and voids configuration provides elasticity and compliance such that a wide selection of materials is available for effective use. The continuous framework can be configured to include active elements such as a control circuit. The active elements may further include electric and magnetic field generators. Further, elastic and insulating materials can be easily added to the framework.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2020
    Assignee: Hutchinson Aerospace & Industry, Inc.
    Inventors: John C. Sailhamer, Robert F. Sharp, Thomas A. David, Gary J. Pivovarov
  • Patent number: 10807713
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to a biomimetic insect. The biomimetic insect includes a trunk and at least two wings connected to the trunk. The wing includes a carbon nanotube layer and a vanadium dioxide layer (VO2) layer stacked with each other. Because the drastic, reversible phase transition of vanadium dioxide, the wing has giant deformation amplitude and fast response.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2020
    Assignees: Tsinghua University, HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO., LTD.
    Inventors: He Ma, Yang Wei, Kai Liu, Kai-Li Jiang, Shou-Shan Fan
  • Patent number: 10590831
    Abstract: An electronically controlled thermostat device simplifies an insulating structure and external portions of the lead wires of a heater incorporated for temperature control of a thermo-element, reduces the number of different parts, and facilitates assembly. A pair of insulating rod pieces clamps the heater at the front and clamps a pair of lead wires from the heater while maintaining an insulated state, and a connector member attached to a side of the insulating rod pieces opposite the portion that holds the heater is mounted on the outside of a device housing. The connector member at an inner end has connector terminals provided with a pair of lead end connecting pieces to which the lead wires are connected, and has an engaging concave portion that engages an engaging convex portion for preventing twisting provided on a side of the insulating rod pieces opposite the portion that holds the heater.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: NIPPON THERMOSTAT CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Tsuyoshi Kumashiro
  • Patent number: 10564385
    Abstract: The Micro electro-mechanical system (MEMS) utilizes thermal micro-actuators for lens barrel positioning in a camera module for smart device such as mobile phone. The micro actuators are radially extended from a lens barrel, wherein each of the micro actuators is bendable in response to thermal energy. A control unit includes a heater circuit operatively linked to the micro actuators to controllably apply the thermal energy to each of the micro actuators, wherein each of the micro actuators is bent correspondingly to move the lens barrel with respect to the base so as to control a 3-axis positioning of the lens barrel. The micro actuators are also operated independent of ambient temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignees: Ningbo Sunny Opotech Co., Ltd., Nanyang Technological University
    Inventors: Nyok Boon Chong, Cheng Yi Lim, Zhenyu Chen, Gih Keong Lau, Chuangui Zhu
  • Patent number: 10543947
    Abstract: A high-speed print-and-apply label applicator includes a conveyor system, a control and monitoring system, a label web feeding assembly, a label printer and encoder system, a tamp pad assembly driven by a linear motor having a shaft that is formed at least partially by a composite material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Assignee: National Presort, Inc.
    Inventor: Brent Daboub
  • Patent number: 10327052
    Abstract: Various examples are provided for digital sound reconstruction using piezoelectric array elements. In one example, a digital loudspeaker includes a fixed frame and an array of transducers disposed on the fixed frame. Individual transducers of the array of transducers can include a flexible membrane disposed on a piezoelectric actuation element positioned over a corresponding opening that extends through the fixed frame. In another example, a method includes forming a flexible membrane structure on a substrate and backetching the substrate opposite the flexible membrane structure. The flexible membrane structure can be formed by disposing a first electrode layer on a substrate, disposing a piezoelectric layer on the first electrode layer and disposing a second electrode layer on the piezoelectric layer. A flexible membrane layer (e.g., polyimide) can be disposed on the second electrode layer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignee: KING ABDULLAH UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Armando Arpys Arevalo Carreno, David Conchouso Gonzalez, David Castro Signoret, Ian G. Foulds
  • Patent number: 9885346
    Abstract: A shape memory actuator system is provided that includes a shape memory actuator having a body made of a shape memory material, with individual power conductors interfaced with a first portion of the body, and one or more individual ground conductors interfaced with a second portion of the body in physical contact with the first portion of the body. A power source provides power to the individual power conductors. A controller is provided for controlling a resistive heating current connection sufficient to impart shape memory to the body between the individual power conductors and the one or more individual ground conductors with the proviso that the ground conductors are physically separated from the individual power conductors. A novel shape memory article results. A method for controlling a shape memory actuator and forming a shape memory article are also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2018
    Assignee: Think Surgical, Inc.
    Inventor: Gibson Elliot
  • Patent number: 9874064
    Abstract: A system, in certain embodiments, includes an accumulator. The accumulator includes a first cylinder configured to receive a fluid within an internal volume of the first cylinder. The accumulator also includes a piston configured to move axially within the first cylinder. Axial movement of the piston within the first cylinder adjusts the internal volume of the first cylinder. The accumulator further includes a plurality of shape memory alloy wires configured to cause the axial movement of the piston within the first cylinder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 23, 2018
    Assignee: University of Houston
    Inventors: Chris Kocurek, Gangbing Song, David McWhorter
  • Patent number: 9877379
    Abstract: Disclosed is a flexible electronic device, including: a body made of a flexible material; a display unit; a flexible circuit board; a bending adjuster having a first plate that maintains a flat shape at room temperature, and a second plate that maintains a bent state at a specific temperature or more and having an elastic force larger than that of the first plate in a superelastic state, and is configured to adjust bending of the body by these plates, such that it is possible to improve reality of an image on a display unit by controlling the overall electronic device to be bent at a predetermined angle, more stably maintain a bent state and a flat state, reliably prevent a display unit and a flexible circuit board from being damaged, and stably maintain the bent state and the flat state despite using for a long period of time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 28, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 23, 2018
    Inventors: Chang-soon Hwang, Sun-jong Kim
  • Patent number: 9829304
    Abstract: A system for estimating a position associated with a pre-tensioned active material without using a position sensor. The system includes an active material being transformable between a first state and a second state in response to a pre-determined stimulus and pre-tensioned to at least a pre-determined threshold, yielding the pre-tensioned active material. The system also includes a processing unit configured to perform various operations. The operations include obtaining a value for electrical resistance of the pre-tensioned active material. The operations also include estimating, using the electrical resistance determined, the position associated with the pre-tensioned active material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2017
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Avshalom Suissa, Armin Biess
  • Patent number: 9734974
    Abstract: The present invention refers to a low voltage circuit breaker with a control device for re-closing said low voltage circuit breaker. The control device is provided with an actuating element, comprising a shape memory material and operatively associated with maneuvering means for the circuit breaker. When this shape memory material performs a state transition, the actuating element causes the movement of said maneuvering means from a first operative position, associated with an open configuration of the circuit breaker, to a second operative position, associated with a closed configuration of the circuit breaker.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2017
    Assignee: ABB S.p.A.
    Inventors: Franco Colombo, Paolo Antonello
  • Patent number: 9470213
    Abstract: A release mechanism passively releases a mechanical coupling as a result of a temperature rise. The release mechanism includes a breakable element, such as a shape memory alloy (SMA) element, that is configured to break when the element is heated to a predetermined temperature. The breakage of the breakable element releases a mechanical coupling, such as a coupling holding a lid onto a container. The release mechanism may be part of a handle or other device to close the container. The release mechanism may have a mechanical load on it prior to release, a load that in part passes through the breakable element. Most of the load may pass through one or more other members of the release mechanism, providing the force for separation after the release mechanism is triggered. The release mechanism may be used to provide a passive way of releasing a mechanical coupling in response to heating.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 18, 2016
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Frederick B Koehler, Ward D Lyman, Douglas M Beard, Anthony O Lee
  • Patent number: 9366879
    Abstract: A suspension assembly for a camera lens element includes a support member with a wire attach structure and a moving member coupled to the support member. The moving member includes a plate, flexure arms extending from the plate and coupled to the support member, and a wire attach structure. A bearing supports the plate of the moving member for movement with respect to the support member. The bearing includes a spacer portion extending from one of the support member and the plate of the moving member, and a polymer interface surface portion slidably engaged with the other of the support member and the plate of the moving member. A smart memory alloy wire is coupled to and extends between the wire attach structures of the support member and the moving member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 24, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2016
    Assignee: Hutchinson Technology Incorporated
    Inventor: Mark A. Miller
  • Patent number: 9267493
    Abstract: Some on-vehicle devices, such as air dams, air spoilers, and HVAC system baffles, may have movable components that are pulled from one position to another by shrinkage of a linear shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator. Upon an activation signal, the shrinkage of the SMA actuator occurs when it is resistance heated by an electrical current. It is found that useful information concerning the overall intended operation of the on-vehicle device may be obtained by computer analysis of the temporal variation of both current flow through the actuator and its electrical resistance as it is heated to perform its function in the device. A comparison of present current flow and variation of resistance, during activation of the device, with prescribed stored values can reveal malfunction of components of the device as it is being used, in place, on the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 23, 2016
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Paul W. Alexander, Nancy L. Johnson, Xiujie Gao, Nilesh D. Mankame, Guillermo A. Herrera, Geoffrey P. McKnight
  • Patent number: 9234509
    Abstract: A quick-return active material actuator adapted for more rapidly returning a load, so as to reduce the de-actuation time of a system, includes in a first aspect a thermally activated active material actuation element drivenly coupled to the load, an active material de-actuation element drivenly coupled to the load non-antagonistic to the actuation element, and a reconfigurable mechanism interconnecting the elements and load, wherein the de-actuation element and mechanism are cooperatively configured to return the load while the actuation element is still activated, and, in a second aspect a thermally activated active material actuation element drivenly coupled to a biased load and operable to autonomously release, so that the load is caused to be returned while the actuation element is still activated, and subsequently re-engage the load.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 12, 2016
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Nilesh D. Mankame, Richard J. Skurkis, Mark A. Kramarczyk, Paul W. Alexander
  • Patent number: 9145903
    Abstract: A system, in certain embodiments, includes an accumulator having a first plate with a first plurality of holes and a second plate with a second plurality of holes. The second plate is positioned at an offset from the first plate, and the second plate is moveable relative to the first plate to adjust a fluid pressure. The accumulator also includes a plurality of shape memory alloy wires extending between the first and second plates, wherein the plurality of shape memory alloy wires extend through the first and second plurality of holes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 29, 2015
    Assignee: Cameron International Corporation
    Inventors: Garrett Lewis, Gangbing Song, Devendra Patil
  • Patent number: 9096428
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus for MEMS release are disclosed. A method is described including providing a substrate including at least one MEMS device supported by a sacrificial layer; performing an etch in solution to remove the sacrificial layer from at least one MEMS device; immersing the substrate including the at least one MEMS device in an organic solvent; and while the substrate is immersed in the organic solvent, removing water from the organic solvent until the water remaining in the organic solvent is less than a predetermined threshold. An apparatus is disclosed for performing the methods. Additional alternative methods are disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2015
    Assignee: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd.
    Inventors: Tai-I Yang, Ming-Tai Chung, Hong-Seng Shue, Ming-Yi Lin
  • Patent number: 9048276
    Abstract: An apparatus and method are provided for selecting materials for forming an electrostatic clamp. The electrostatic clamp has a backing plate having a first coefficient of thermal expansion, wherein the backing plate provides structural support and rigidity to the electrostatic clamp. The electrostatic clamp further has a clamping plate having a clamping surface associated with contact with a workpiece, wherein the clamping plate has a second coefficient of thermal expansion associated therewith. The clamping plate is bonded, attached or grown to the backing plate, wherein minimal deflection of the clamping plate is evident across a predetermined temperature range. The first coefficient of thermal expansion and second coefficient of thermal expansion, for example, are substantially similar, and vary by no greater than a factor of three.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 26, 2011
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2015
    Assignee: Axcelis Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: William D. Lee, Ashwin M. Purohit
  • Publication number: 20150135703
    Abstract: An SMA actuation apparatus moves a movable element relative to a support structure in two orthogonal directions using a total of four SMA actuator wires each connected at its ends between the movable element and the support structure and extending perpendicular to the primary axis. None of the SMA actuator wires are collinear, but the SMA actuator wires have an arrangement in which they are capable of being selectively driven to move the movable element relative to the support structure to any position in said range of movement without applying any net torque to the movable element in the plane of the two orthogonal directions around the primary axis. Accordingly, it is possible to drive movement whilst balancing the forces to limit torque around the primary axis.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 21, 2013
    Publication date: May 21, 2015
    Applicant: CAMBRIDGE MECHATRONICS LIMITED
    Inventors: Robin Eddington, James Howarth, Andrew Benjamin David Brown
  • Patent number: 9021801
    Abstract: Shape memory alloy (SMA) actuating elements are commonly simpler and of lower mass than alternative actuator designs and may find particular application in the transportation industry. Such SMA-powered devices are usually reliable and long-lived but the phase transformations which occur in the SMA alloy and are responsible for its utility are not totally reversible. This irreversibility, a consequence of irrecoverable strain, may progressively degrade the long-term actuator performance as the irrecoverable strain accumulates over many operating cycles. Methods and devices for compensating for these effects and extending the useful cycle life of SMA actuators are described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 5, 2015
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Xiujie Gao, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Guillermo A. Herrera, Christopher B Churchill, Nancy L. Johnson, Alan L. Browne, Peter Maxwell Sarosi, Paul W. Alexander
  • Patent number: 9016057
    Abstract: An actuator using a superelastic material characterized by a low heating temperature, excellent durability, and no necessity of composition adjustment is provided. An actuator (1) according to the invention includes a movable member operable in two directions, one direction and the other direction, and a pair of wire-like members made of a superelastic alloy and so attached to the movable member that the pair of wire-like members extend in the two respective directions and the same tensile force is applied thereto. The movable member is moved from a neutral position and left stationary in a predetermined position located along the one direction by applying a load to the movable member in the one direction and then removing the load, and the movable member is moved back from the predetermined position located along the one direction to the neutral position by applying a load to the movable member in the other direction and then removing the load.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 28, 2015
    Assignee: Tokyo University of Agricultural and Technology
    Inventors: Atsushi Sakuma, Sayo Kusumi
  • Patent number: 9010106
    Abstract: This invention relates to the exploitation of porous foam articles exhibiting the Shape Memory Effect as actuators. Each foam article is composed of a plurality of geometric shapes, such that some geometric shapes can fit snugly into or around rigid mating connectors that attach the Shape Memory foam article intimately into the load path between a static structure and a moveable structure. The foam is open-celled, composed of a plurality of interconnected struts whose mean diameter can vary from approximately 50 to 500 microns. Gases and fluids flowing through the foam transfer heat rapidly with the struts, providing rapid Shape Memory Effect transformations. Embodiments of porous foam articles as torsional actuators and approximately planar structures are disposed. Simple, integral connection systems exploiting the ability to supply large loads to a structure, and that can also supply hot and cold gases and fluids to effect rapid actuation are also disposed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2015
    Assignee: Shape Change Technologies LLC
    Inventor: Andrew Peter Jardine
  • Publication number: 20150101325
    Abstract: Reconfigurable skin systems may include a multi-cellular structure, in which individual cells are filled with a shape memory polymer having conductive chains of conductive particles embedded or dispersed therein. The systems are configured such that application of a stimulus to selected cells causes the shape memory polymer to undergo a phase change in the selected cells and impart a textured surface to one side of the multi-cellular structure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 13, 2014
    Publication date: April 16, 2015
    Inventors: Richard V. Beblo, John P. Puttmann, Gregory W. Reich, Brian M. Smyers, James J. Joo
  • Patent number: 9003789
    Abstract: An energy harvesting system for converting thermal energy to mechanical energy includes a heat engine that operates using a shape memory alloy active material. The shape memory alloy member may be in thermal communication with a hot region at a first temperature and a cold region at a second temperature lower than the first temperature. The shape memory alloy material may be configured to selectively change crystallographic phase between martensite to austenite and thereby one of contract and expand in response to the first and second temperatures. A thermal conduction element may be in direct contact with the SMA material, where the thermal conduction element is configured to receive thermal energy from the hot region and to transfer a portion of the received thermal energy to the SMA material through conduction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2015
    Assignees: GM Global Technology Operations LLC, Dynalloy, Inc., The Regents of the University of Michigan
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Paul W. Alexander, John Andrew Shaw, Christopher Burton Churchill, Andrew C. Keefe, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Guillermo A. Herrera, Nilesh D. Mankame, Richard J. Skurkis, Wayne Brown
  • Publication number: 20150096293
    Abstract: A system for heating a shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator may include an SMA actuator, a smart susceptor, a plurality of induction coils, and a control module. The SMA actuator may have at least one layup. The SMA actuator may be selectively heated to a transition temperature. The smart susceptor may be in thermal contact with the at least one layup of the SMA actuator. The induction heating coils may be configured to receive an alternating current and generate a magnetic field based on the alternating current. The magnetic field may create an eddy current in at least one of the SMA actuator and the smart susceptor to heat the SMA actuator to the transition temperature. The control module may be configured to drive the alternating current supplied to the induction heating coils.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 3, 2013
    Publication date: April 9, 2015
    Applicant: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Moushumi Shome, Frederick T. Calkins, Stephen R. Amorosi, Flint M. Jamison, Sahrudine Apdalhaliem, Robert James Miller
  • Patent number: 8966893
    Abstract: Methods of applying sensible coatings with at least one spatially-varying characteristic to shape memory alloy actuators, particularly actuators comprising linear elements such as wires strips or cables, are disclosed. Such coatings enable the positions of the linear shape memory alloy elements to be sensed using magnetic, capacitive and optical sensors and so, in conjunction with a controller, enable operation of such actuators under proportional control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2015
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Andrew M. Mance, Martin P. Sulic
  • Patent number: 8939709
    Abstract: A system for operating a turbine includes a rotating component and a non-rotating component separated from the rotating component by a clearance. A first actuator is connected to the non-rotating component, and the first actuator comprises a shape-memory alloy. A method for operating a turbine includes sensing a parameter reflective of a clearance between a non-rotating component and a rotating component and generating a parameter signal reflective of the clearance. The method further includes generating a control signal to at least one actuator based on the parameter signal and moving at least a portion of the non-rotating component relative to the rotating component to change the clearance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2015
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Biju Nanukuttan, Rakesh Adoor, Hariharan Sundaram, James Adaickalasamy, Prasad Punna
  • Publication number: 20150024808
    Abstract: A driving system includes a sensor, a shape memory alloy member, a processing module and a recovery member. The sensor is installed on a housing, and the shape memory alloy member is connected to a module and the housing. The processing module is coupled to the sensor and the shape memory alloy member. The processing module supplies power to the shape memory alloy member when the processing module receives a sensing signal from the sensor, such that the shape memory alloy member is heated to deform for driving the module to move away from the housing. The recovery member is connected to the housing and for driving the module to get closer to the housing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 10, 2013
    Publication date: January 22, 2015
    Applicant: Wistron Corporation
    Inventor: Chuan-Cheng Fu
  • Patent number: 8935921
    Abstract: A heat-driven engine includes a thermally conductive path into the engine, from a heat source and a working medium of a thermostrictive material, having a first temperature of transformation, positioned adjacent to the thermally conductive path. Also, a heat pump of phase change material is positioned adjacent to the working medium and an actuator is controlled to apply stimulus to the heat pump, causing a phase change and an associated release of thermal energy, to drive the working medium above its low-to-high temperature of transformation and controlled to alternatingly remove the stimulus from the heat pump, causing the phase change to reverse, and an associated intake of thermal energy, to drive the working medium below its high-to-low temperature of transformation. Also, heat flow through the thermally conductive path maintains the working medium at a temperature range permitting the heat pump to drive the working medium temperature, in the manner noted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 20, 2015
    Inventor: Neil Tice
  • Publication number: 20150001996
    Abstract: A reconfigurable bi-stable device includes an elastically deformable panel laterally disposed between and connected to one or more mounting members directly or indirectly connected to opposing ends of the panel, with the panel maintained under compressive force along at least one vector extending between the opposing ends. The compressive force deforms the panel into a one of two stable deformed positions, with the device disposed such that the panel may be moved between each of the two stable deformed positions by application of manual force to one of two opposing faces of the panel. A first shape memory alloy (SMA) or piezo actuator member is connected to the panel, the actuator member being capable of moving the panel from a first one of the two stable deformed positions to a second one of the two stable deformed positions.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 16, 2014
    Publication date: January 1, 2015
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, William B. Carter, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Andrew C. Keefe, Guillermo A. Herrera
  • Patent number: 8904781
    Abstract: An actuation system having a configuration of first and second components, each component having longitudinally extending fingers interlaced with one another. Relative longitudinal movement is permitted between the fingers in a manner to permit the second component to be movable longitudinally with respect to the first component between a first position and a second position. A biasing member is provided within the configuration that biases the second component towards the second position. A wire is wound about the fingers that restrains the second component in the first position. A release device selectively causes the wire to be loosened about the fingers such that the biasing member moves the second component from the first position to the second position. An actuator connected to the second component moves with the second component from the first position to the second position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: Simmonds Precision Products, Inc.
    Inventor: Martin E. Buttolph
  • Patent number: 8899038
    Abstract: An actuator includes a capturing part, a retained part and a heating element which applies heat to the retained part or the capturing part responsive to selective application of power to the at least one heating element. The capturing part attaches to a first object and has a first coefficient of thermal expansion. The retained part attaches to a second object and has a second coefficient of thermal expansion. The retained part is insertable into the capturing part in a first state of the actuator. The retained part is held in contact with the capturing part via an interference fit to hold the first and second objects proximate to each other in a second state. The retained part is ejected from the capturing part in a third state. Applying heat via the heating element causes a transition between the second and the first or third states of the actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 2, 2014
    Assignee: The Johns Hopkins University
    Inventors: Clint T. Apland, David R. Weir, David F. Persons, Michael T. Marley
  • Publication number: 20140338325
    Abstract: A hardware retention mechanism comprising a frame including a first guide shoulder and a pivot point; an actuator arm including a first guide post; and a first shape memory alloy wire strung between the first guide shoulder and the first guide post that rotates the actuator arm between a locked position and an unlocked position. The actuator arm is rotatable around the pivot point between a locked position and an unlocked position. In some embodiments, the frame may further comprise a second guide shoulder, the actuator arm may further comprise a second guide post, and a second shape memory alloy wire may be strung between the second guide shoulder and the second guide post that rotates the actuator arm between an unlocked position and a locked position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 30, 2014
    Publication date: November 20, 2014
    Inventors: Philip M. Corcoran, Eric A. Eckberg, Joseph D. Rico, Edward J. Seminaro
  • Patent number: 8863512
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy actuator system includes a shape memory alloy actuator, a mobile object, an elastic member, a first regulating member, and a second regulating member, a detecting section which detects a resistance value of the shape memory alloy wire, a calculating section which calculates an electric current applied, an output section, a control section which controls the detecting section, the calculating section, the output section. The calculating section calculates a first resistance value at which, a proportion of a resistance change with respect to a change in a unit temperature changes from a first proportion to a second proportion which differs from the first proportion, and the control section carries out a position control of the shape memory alloy actuator by the first resistance value, when the shape memory alloy wire is to be elongated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 21, 2014
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventor: Kaoru Matsuki
  • Publication number: 20140298795
    Abstract: The embodiments herein disclose a high degree of freedom (DOF) compliant nano-positioners and a method to fabricate the high DOF compliant nano-positioners. The system comprising a central stage and a plurality of micromanipulators is connected to the central stage. Each of the plurality of micromanipulators comprises a micro-actuator, a primary long beam and a primary micro beam. The micro-actuator comprises a pair of conducting pads, a secondary micro-beam, a secondary long beam and a box spring. A preset amount of the non-zero voltage is applied on the conducting pads to cause a displacement in the micromanipulator. The embodiments herein also disclose a fabrication method of developing a bi-planar structure for a high degree of freedom nano-positioner.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 8, 2013
    Publication date: October 9, 2014
    Inventors: Hoorad Pourzand, Aria Alasty, Reza Ghaemi
  • Patent number: 8844281
    Abstract: A heat engine includes a first rotatable pulley and a second rotatable pulley spaced from the first rotatable pulley. A shape memory alloy (SMA) element is disposed about respective portions of the pulleys at an SMA pulley ratio. The SMA element includes a first wire, a second wire, and a matrix joining the first wire and the second wire. The first wire and the second wire are in contact with the pulleys, but the matrix is not in contact with the pulleys. A timing cable is disposed about respective portions of the pulleys at a timing pulley ratio, which is different than the SMA pulley ratio. The SMA element converts a thermal energy gradient between the hot region and the cold region into mechanical energy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 30, 2014
    Assignees: GM Global Technology Operations LLC, Dynalloy, Inc, The Regents of the University of Michigan
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, John Andrew Shaw, Christopher Burton Churchill, Andrew C. Keefe, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Paul W. Alexander, Guillermo A. Herrera, James Ryan Yates, Jeffrey W. Brown
  • Publication number: 20140260238
    Abstract: A resistively heated shape memory polymer device is operated using resistive heating to heat the shape memory polymer device. The resistively heated shape memory polymer device is made by providing a wire that includes a resistive medium. The wire is coated with a first shape memory polymer. The wire is exposed and electrical leads are attached to the wire. In one embodiment the shape memory polymer device is in the form of a clot destruction device. In another embodiment the shape memory polymer device is in the form of a microvalve. In another embodiment the shape memory polymer device is in the form of a micropump. In yet another embodiment the shape memory polymer device is in the form of a thermostat or relay switch.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 14, 2013
    Publication date: September 18, 2014
    Inventors: John E. Marion, III, Jane P. Bearinger, Thomas S. Wilson, Ward Small, IV, Duncan J. Maitland
  • Publication number: 20140260237
    Abstract: A resistively heated shape memory polymer device is made by providing a rod, sheet or substrate that includes a resistive medium. The rod, sheet or substrate is coated with a first shape memory polymer providing a coated intermediate unit. The coated intermediate unit is in turn coated with a conductive material providing a second intermediate unit. The second coated intermediate unit is in turn coated with an outer shape memory polymer. The rod, sheet or substrate is exposed and an electrical lead is attached to the rod, sheet or substrate. The conductive material is exposed and an electrical lead is attached to the conductive material.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 14, 2013
    Publication date: September 18, 2014
    Inventors: John E. Marion, III, Jane P. Bearinger, Thomas S. Wilson, Duncan J. Maitland
  • 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: 8820069
    Abstract: This disclosure describes an apparatus having a valve and an elongated shape memory alloy element. The valve has a lever in a first position, whereby the valve is closed. The elongated shape memory alloy element has a first end connected to the lever. The shape memory alloy element has been strained to have a first length, wherein exposure of at least a portion of the shape memory alloy element to a temperature at or exceeding its austenite transformation temperature causes the shape memory alloy element to shorten to a second length, the second length being less than the first length, thereby causing the first end of the shape memory alloy element to pull the lever to a second position, whereby the valve is opened.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2014
    Assignee: Hexagon Technology AS
    Inventors: John D. Makinson, John A. Eihusen
  • Publication number: 20140238013
    Abstract: This disclosure provides systems, methods, and apparatus related to vanadium dioxide microactuators. In one aspect, a method includes depositing a vanadium dioxide layer on a sacrificial layer disposed on a substrate. A metal layer is deposited on the vanadium dioxide layer. The metal layer is patterned. Portions of the vanadium dioxide layer that are not covered by the metal layer are removed. At least a portion of the sacrificial layer is removed to form a cantilever-type structure including the vanadium dioxide layer and the metal layer disposed on the vanadium dioxide layer.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 30, 2013
    Publication date: August 28, 2014
    Applicant: THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
    Inventors: Junqiao Wu, Kai Liu, Kevin Wang
  • Patent number: 8800283
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) heat engine includes a first rotatable pulley, a second rotatable pulley, and an SMA material disposed about the first and second rotatable pulleys and between a hot region and a cold region. A method of starting and operating the SMA heat engine includes detecting a thermal energy gradient between the hot region and the cold region using a controller, decoupling an electrical generator from one of the first and second rotatable pulleys, monitoring a speed of the SMA material about the first and second rotatable pulleys, and re-engaging the driven component if the monitored speed of the SMA material exceeds a threshold. The SMA material may selectively change crystallographic phase between martensite and austenite and between the hot region and the cold region to convert the thermal gradient into mechanical energy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignees: GM Global Technology Operations LLC, Dynalloy Inc., The Regents of the University of Michigan
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Nilesh D. Mankame, Paul W. Alexander, John Andrew Shaw, Christopher Burton Churchill, Andrew C. Keefe, Guillermo A. Herrera, Jeffrey W Brown, Richard J. Skurkis
  • Patent number: 8800284
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy actuator includes a wire portion which is inserted through a first tube member, a shape memory alloy wire portion which is inserted through a second tube member, a movable body which is movable in a direction in which, a length of the shape memory alloy wire portion changes, an elastic member which exerts an external force in a direction in which, the shape memory alloy wire portion elongates, and a fixing member to which, one end of the second tube member and one end of the shape memory alloy wire portion are fixed, and one end of the wire portion is connected to the movable body, and one end of the shape memory alloy wire portion and one end of the wire portion are joined to a joining portion, and the joining portion includes a plurality of crimp terminals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignee: Olympus Corporation
    Inventor: Masaya Takahashi
  • Patent number: 8800282
    Abstract: An energy harvesting system comprises a first region and a second region having a temperature difference therebetween. A heat engine is configured for converting thermal energy to mechanical energy. The heat engine includes a first discrete element of a shape memory alloy having a crystallographic phase changeable between austenite and martensite in response to the temperature difference between the first region and the second region. The first discrete element of the shape memory alloy expands and contracts in response to the phase change to exert a linear force. A motion conversion mechanism is operatively connected to the first discrete element to be driven by the linear force and a component is driven by the motion conversion mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Paul W. Alexander, Alan L. Browne, Patrick B. Usoro, Nilesh D. Mankame, Xiujie Gao, Marten Wittorf
  • Patent number: 8793993
    Abstract: An energy harvesting system includes a heat engine and a component configured to be driven by operation of the heat engine. The heat engine includes a first member, a second member, a shape memory alloy material, and a tensioner. The second member is spaced from the first member. The shape memory alloy material operatively interconnects the first member and the second member. The shape memory alloy material is configured to selectively change crystallographic phase from martensite to austenite and thereby contract in response to exposure to a first temperature. The shape memory alloy material is also configured to selectively change crystallographic phase from austenite to martensite and thereby expand in response to exposure to a second temperature. The tensioner is configured to apply tension to the shape memory alloy material as the shape memory alloy material selectively expands and contracts such that the shape memory alloy material is taut.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Paul W. Alexander, Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Nilesh D. Mankame, Xiujie Gao, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Andrew C. Keefe, Christopher P. Henry
  • Publication number: 20140210219
    Abstract: A rotary actuator includes a plurality of plate members stacked and coupled together for rotation relative to each other. A biasing member provides a biasing force tending to cause a rotatable end plate member to rotate in a biasing direction relative to a non-rotatable end plate member. Each plate member has a plurality of notches at its periphery. A SMA wire extends through the plurality of notches so that as the SMA wire is heated, the SMA wire rotates each rotatable plate member from a cold position in a direction opposite the biasing direction to a hot position. As the SMA wire cools, the biasing member rotates each rotatable plate member in the biasing direction from the hot position and returns each rotatable plate member to the cold position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 27, 2014
    Publication date: July 31, 2014
    Applicant: A. Raymond & Cie
    Inventor: Walter B. PIPP
  • Patent number: 8789366
    Abstract: A shape memory stored energy assembly includes a projectile housing having a projectile lumen. A projectile is within the projectile lumen and the projectile is movable relative to the projectile housing. A shape memory actuator is coupled between the projectile anchored end and the projectile housing. The shape memory actuator is configured to transition from a strained energy stored configuration to a fractured kinetic delivery configuration at a specified temperature range to propel the projectile through the projectile lumen. A method includes storing energy in a shape memory actuator coupled with a projectile. The stored energy in the shape memory actuator is released and propels the projectile. Releasing the stored energy includes heating the shape memory actuator, tensioning the shape memory actuator, and fracturing the tensioned shape memory actuator at a fracture locus to propel the projectile away from the fracture locus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2014
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Ward D. Lyman, Frederick B. Koehler
  • Patent number: 8776515
    Abstract: A pumping assembly is provided. The assembly includes a first movable element selectively movable within a first pump housing and an actuator including an active material. The active material is configured to undergo a change in attribute in response to an activation signal. The active material is operatively connected to the first movable element such that the change in attribute causes the first movable element to move within the first pump housing. In one example, the active material is a shape memory alloy material having a crystallographic phase that is changeable between Austenite and Martensite in response to the activation signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Nicholas W. Pinto, IV, Scott R. Webb, Paul W. Alexander, Thomas W. Cox, Xiujie Gao
  • Patent number: 8776514
    Abstract: A microactuator for displacing a platform vertically with respect to a substrate includes a first rigid frame, a first flexible bimorph beam connecting the first frame to the substrate, a second rigid frame, a second flexible bimorph beam connecting the second frame to the first frame, and a third flexible bimorph beam connecting a platform to the second frame. Activation of the first, second, and third flexible bimorph beams allows vertical displacement of the platform with respect to the substrate, with negligible lateral shift. A microactuator assembly includes a substrate, a plurality of first rigid frames, a plurality of first flexible bimorph beams, a plurality of second rigid frames, a plurality of second flexible bimorph beams, a platform, and a plurality of third flexible bimorph beams. Activation of the first, second, and third bimorph beams allows vertical displacement of the platform with respect to the substrate, with negligible lateral shift.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2014
    Inventors: Lei Wu, Huikai Xie
  • Patent number: 8769946
    Abstract: A cooling system configured for converting thermal energy to mechanical energy includes a source of thermal energy provided by a temperature difference between a heat source having a first temperature and a coolant having a second temperature that is lower than the first temperature. The cooling system includes a cooling circuit configured for conveying the coolant to and from the heat source. The cooling circuit includes a conduit and a pump in fluid communication with the conduit and configured for delivering the coolant to the heat source. The cooling system also includes a heat engine disposed in thermal relationship with the conduit and configured for converting thermal to mechanical energy. The heat engine includes a first element formed from a first shape memory alloy having a crystallographic phase changeable between austenite and martensite at a first transformation temperature in response to the temperature difference between the heat source and coolant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Paul W. Alexander, Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Patrick B. Usoro, Nilesh D. Mankame, Xiujie Gao, Geoffrey P. McKnight, John A. Cafeo, Christopher P. Henry