Potential applications involving high-temperature shape memory alloys have been growing in recent years. Even in those cases where promising new alloys have been identified, the knowledge base for such materials contains gaps crucial to their maturation and implementation in actuator and other applications. We begin to address this issue by characterizing the mechanical behavior of a Ni19.5Pd30Ti50.5 high-temperature shape memory alloy in both uniaxial tension and compression at various temperatures. Differences in the isothermal uniaxial deformation behavior were most notable at test temperatures below the martensite finish temperature. The elastic modulus of the material was very dependent on strain level; therefore, dynamic Young's Modulus was determined as a function of temperature by an impulse excitation technique. More importantly, the performance of a thermally activated actuator material is dependent on the work output of the alloy. Consequently, the strain-temperature response of the Ni19.5Pd30Ti50.5 alloy under various loads was determined in both tension and compression and the specific work output calculated and compared in both loading conditions. It was found that the transformation strain and thus, the specific work output were similar regardless of the loading condition. Also, in both tension and compression, the strain-temperature loops determined under constant load conditions did not close due to the fact that the transformation strain during cooling was always larger than the transformation strain during heating. This was apparently the result of permanent plastic deformation of the martensite phase with each cycle. Consequently, before this alloy can be used under cyclic actuation conditions, modification of the microstructure or composition would be required to increase the resistance of the alloy to plastic deformation by slip.
Pt additions substituted for Ni in NiTi alloys are known to increase the transformation temperature of the alloy but only at fairly high Pt levels. However, until now only ternary compositions with a very specific stoichiometry, Ni50-xPtxTi50, have been investigated and then only to very limited extent. In order to learn more about this potential high-temperature shape memory alloy system, a series of over twenty alloys along and on either side of a line of constant stoichiometry between NiTi and TiPt were arc melted, homogenized, and characterized in terms of their microstructure, transformation temperatures, and hardness. The resulting microstructures were examined by scanning electron microscopy and the phase compositions quantified by energy dispersive spectroscopy. "Stoichiometric" compositions along a line of constant stoichiometry between NiTi to TiPt were essentially single phase but any deviations from a stoichiometry of (Ni,Pt)50Ti50 resulted in the presence of at least two different intermetallic phases, depending on the overall composition of the alloy. Essentially all alloys, whether single or two-phase, still under went a martensitic transformation. It was found that the transformation temperatures were depressed with initial Pt additions but at levels greater than 10 at.% the transformation temperature increased linearly with Pt content. Also, the transformation temperatures were relatively insensitive to alloy stoichiometry within the range of alloys examined. Finally, the dependence of hardness on Pt content for a series of Ni50-xPtxTi50 alloys showed solution softening at low Pt levels, while hardening was observed in ternary alloys containing more than about 10 at.% Pt. On either side of these "stoichiometric" compositions, hardness was also found to increase significantly.