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Shape Memory Alloy Activity

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The Shape Alloy Memory Activity shows an artist illustration image of the Boeing EcoD aircraft in flight.



Grade Levels

Grades K-4, Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12, Informal Education


Physical Science, Flight and Aeronautics, Matter and Its Properties


Hands-on Activities, Read About It

Shape Memory Alloy Activity

Through experimentation and/or demonstration, students will be introduced to shape memory alloys (SMAs) and how they are being tested to save energy usage on aircraft in the Shape Memory Alloy Activity. This will introduce them the development and testing NASA is conducting, which is the use of SMAs to make aircraft more sustainable.

Shape Memory Alloy Activity

K–12 *hands-on activity recommended for grades 5-12 (for lower grades, the activity is recommended as a demonstration).

Students will test a piece of nitinol wire (a shape memory alloy) and immerse it in hot water, then compare the outcome to the effect of hot water on a more standard item such as a paperclip. After finding out how NASA and others are using shape memory alloy technology, they will then discuss or develop a way they could use this same technology.