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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2006, Article ID 56876, 30 pages

An overview of constitutive models for shape memory alloys

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute-Graduate School and Research in Engineering (COPPE), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, P.O. Box 68.503, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21941-972, Brazil

Received 1 September 2004; Revised 27 September 2005; Accepted 5 October 2005

Copyright © 2006 Alberto Paiva and Marcelo Amorim Savi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The remarkable properties of shape memory alloys have facilitated their applications in many areas of technology. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of thermomechanical behavior of these alloys, discussing the main constitutive models for their mathematical description. Metallurgical features and engineering applications are addressed as an introduction. Afterwards, five phenomenological theories are presented. In general, these models capture the general thermomechanical behavior of shape memory alloys, characterized by pseudoelasticity, shape memory effect, phase transformation phenomenon due to temperature variation, and internal subloops due to incomplete phase transformations.