Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Onur Bilgen

Committee Member

Sebastian Y. Bawab

Committee Member

Sushi Chaturvedi


Shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators paired in an antagonistic arrangement can be used to produce mechanisms that replicate human biomechanics. To investigate this proposal, the biomechanical articulation of the elbow by means of the biceps brachii muscle is compared with that of a SMA actuated arm. This is accomplished by parametric analysis of a crank-slider kinematic mechanism actuated, first, with an experimentally characterized SMA wire and then an idealized musculotendon actuator based on actuation properties of muscles published in the literature. Next, equations of motion for the system dynamics of the SMA actuated mechanism are derived and phase portrait analysis is conducted varying system parameters around different operating points. The eigenvalues of the differential equation are examined around equilibrium points and a stiffness ratio metric is proposed to characterize dynamic stability based on system parameters. Next, a heat transfer model is proposed and energy analysis is conducted on each stage of phase transformation for the SMA wire. The unknown parameters in the heat transfer model are theoretically derived and an experimental system identification is conducted. A proof of concept antagonistic SMA actuated mechanism is designed and kinematic analysis is conducted on an experimental prototype.