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Sci Rep. 2014 Jun 12;4:5267. doi: 10.1038/srep05267.

A novel multifunctional NiTi/Ag hierarchical composite.

Author information

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing and Department of Materials Science and engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, China.
  • 2X-ray Science Division, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA.
  • 3Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA.
  • 4State Key Laboratory for Advanced Metals and Materials, University of Science and Technology, Beijing 100083, China.
  • 5Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA.
  • 6Department of Physics, Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, Illinois 60115, USA.


Creating multifunctional materials is an eternal goal of mankind. As the properties of monolithic materials are necessary limited, one route to extending them is to create a composite by combining contrasting materials. The potential of this approach is neatly illustrated by the formation of nature materials where contrasting components are combined in sophisticated hierarchical designs. In this study, inspired by the hierarchical structure of the tendon, we fabricated a novel composite by subtly combining two contrasting components: NiTi shape-memory alloy and Ag. The composite exhibits simultaneously exceptional mechanical properties of high strength, good superelasticity and high mechanical damping, and remarkable functional properties of high electric conductivity, high visibility under fluoroscopy and excellent thermal-driven ability. All of these result from the effective-synergy between the NiTi and Ag components, and place the composite in a unique position in the properties chart of all known structural-functional materials providing new opportunities for innovative electrical, mechanical and biomedical applications. Furthermore, this work may open new avenues for designing and fabricating advanced multifunctional materials by subtly combining contrasting multi-components.

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