Shape memory alloys (SMA) are applied as actuator materials in smart structures and in fastening and pre-stressing devices. Shape memory alloys can be divided into three groups: one-way alloys, two-way alloys and magnetically controlled SMAs. The magnetically controlled SMAs recently suggested by one of the present authors are potential actuator materials for smart structures because they may provide rapid strokes with large amplitudes under precise control. The most extensively applied conventional SMAs are Ni-Ti and Cu- based alloys. Iron-based shape memory alloys, especially Fe-Mn-Si steels, are becoming more and more important in engineering applications due to their low price. The properties of Fe- Mn-Si steels have been improved by alloying, for example, with Cr, Ni and Co. Nitrogen alloying was shown to significantly improve shape memory, mechanical and corrosion properties of Fe-Mn-Si-based steels. Tensile strengths over 1500 MPa, recovery stresses of 300 MPa and recoverable strains of 4% have been attained. In fasteners made from these steels, stresses of 700 MPa were reached. The beneficial effect of nitrogen alloying on shape memory and mechanical properties is based on the decrease of stacking fault energy and increase of the strength of austenite caused by nitrogen atoms. Nitrogen alloyed Fe-Mn-Si- based steels are expected to be employed as actuator materials in pre-stressing and fastening applications in many fields of engineering. Nitrogen alloyed shape memory steels possess good manufacturing properties and weldability, and they are economical to process using conventional industrial methods.