With interest in improved efficiency and a more complete description of the SMA material, this paper compares finite
element (FE) simulations of typical stent geometries using two different constitutive models and two different element
types. Typically, continuum elements are used for the simulation of stents, for example the commercial FE software
ANSYS offers a continuum element based on Auricchio's SMA model. Almost every stent geometry, however, is made
up of long and slender components and can be modeled more efficiently, in the computational sense, with beam
elements. Using the ANSYS user programmable material feature, we implement the free energy based SMA model
developed by Mueller and Seelecke into the ANSYS beam element 188.
Convergence behavior for both, beam and continuum formulations, is studied in terms of element and layer number,
respectively. This is systematically illustrated first for the case of a straight cantilever beam under end loading, and
subsequently for a section of a z-bend wire, a typical stent sub-geometry. It is shown that the computation times for the
beam element are reduced to only one third of those of the continuum element, while both formulations display a
comparable force/displacement response.