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HTSMA 2015 in Wildbad Kreuth: International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys

Photo source: Jan Frenzel / Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Figure caption: Group photo of the participants at the HTSMA 2015 conference.

The 1st Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys, which was held May 5-8, 2015 in Wildbad Kreuth, Germany, brought together experts from 15 countries. The German Society for Materials Science (DGM) and materials scientists from the research unit 1766 (http://www.for1766.de), which is sponsored by the German Research Foundation, jointly organized this event to discuss the latest research on high temperature shape memory alloys. This class of smart materials can deliver large reversible strains and target applications in aerospace, automotive, energy exploration, and conversion industries, where the operating temperatures are often well above 100 °C.

Given the growing interest both from academia and industry, the conference topics addressed different aspects of alloy development, processing, characterization, testing, functional as well as structural degradation, modelling and last but not least applications of high temperature shape memory alloys. The HTSMA 2015 conference not only provided a forum to present the latest results in this rapidly evolving area, but also provided for ample time to discuss and exchange ideas in this fascinating scientific field. Thus, Wildbad Kreuth, which is used as an educational center since 1974, was a perfect setting for the event.

With his plenary lecture Prof. Dr. Jan Van Humbeeck, who holds the Chair for Metallurgy and Materials Engineering at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, set the stage for the conference. In his talk he addressed the available HTSMA materials that can cover the temperature range between 100 °C and 1000 °C, and also pointed out the major road blocks that need to be overcome with respect to mass application of these materials.

A theme present in many of the 26 extended oral presentations as well on the posters were the advances in experimental techniques that provided new insight into the underlying mechanisms that finally govern the macroscopic response of these alloys. Similarly, it was shown that progress in modeling now allows for an understanding of the huge effect of chemical composition on the phase transformation.  It also became clear that the complexity of these materials calls for a combined effort between different groups in order to be able to control functional degradation.  The success of such an approach was shown nicely with a working HTSMA demonstrator presented at conference. 

Another highlight was the plenary lecture given by Prof. Ibrahim Karaman from Texas A&M University (Department of Materials Science and Engineering), USA. He focused on the functional stability and fatigue behavior of NiTi(Hf,Zr) high temperature shape memory alloys. These materials feature very good shape memory response, high transformation temperature along with reasonably priced constituents.

What made HTSMA 2015 also special was that so many young and early stage researchers attended and presented high quality work.  For them, this was also a good opportunity to build up a fine network for their future career.

The HTSMA conference was not only about hard science: the participants enjoyed themselves at a boat trip on the Tegernsee and went up to the Walberg Mountain by cable railway. The conference dinner on Schwaigeralm featured typical Bavarian food and delicious beer from a small-batch brewery. Schwaigeralm is located in a scenic environment and was a great venue to catch up with old friends and make new ones in a relaxed atmosphere.

The feedback from the participants was entirely positive, and demonstrated that this was a great format to be continued. The next HTSMA conference is scheduled for 2017. 

Contact:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans Jürgen Maier
HTSMA Conference Chairman
Institut für Werkstoffkunde (Materials Science)
Leibniz Universität Hannover
An der Universität 2
D-30823 Garbsen
Phone: + 49 (0) 511 762 4311
e-mail: maier@iw.uni-hannover.de