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Biomed Mater Eng. 2006;16(2):101-18.

Bioperformance of shape memory alloy single crystals.

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Group of Research in Biomechanics and Biomaterials, Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Canada.


Shape memory alloys (SMA) represent a large family of alloys that show unique characteristics. They have been exploited in several fields for diverse applications. For the last 20 years, these alloys and more particularly Ni-Ti alloys have revolutionized the field of metallic biomaterials. Applications in the biomedical area are multiple and these materials improve significantly the quality of the diagnostics, treatments and surgeries. To our knowledge, most devices are made of SMAs in the polycrystalline form. Nevertheless, the single crystal form shows several promising advantages especially concerning its mechanical performances. In this paper we describe the advantages, advances and limits of using different SMA single crystals for biomedical applications, including biocompatibility and corrosion resistance. We also discuss the low response time of classical thermal SMAs as well as the new advances in research on magnetic SMA single crystals.

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