Experimental investigation of buckling stability of superelastic Ni-Ti tubes under cyclic compressive loading: Towards defining functionally stable tubes for elastocaloric cooling
Within the ERC project SUPERCOOL we have investigated buckling stability of elastocaloric tubes and define the buckling phase diagrams, based on which functionally stable tubes to be used in elastocaloric devices can be selected. The results are published in International Journal of Solid and Structures.
The paper is available here in open access: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020768322004012
Elastocaloric cooling technology recently attracted significant attention as an environmental friendly alternative to vapor-compression technology. It is based on the elastocaloric effect, which occurs in superelastic shape memory alloys (SMAs) during stress-induced martensitic transformation. To date, several proof-of-concept devices (mostly based on tensile loading) have been developed, but limited fatigue life was shown to be one of the major issues. Compressive loading improves the fatigue life of such devices significantly, but in return buckling of SMA structure might occur. To overcome this challenge, it is crucial to understand the buckling phenomena of SMA structures, especially for thin-walled tubes that seem to be ideal candidates for application in elastocaloric cooling devices. Here, we experimentally investigated the effects of the diameter-to-thickness ratio (Dout/t) and slenderness (λ) on buckling stability of Ni-Ti tubes that were subjected to cyclic compressive loading. In total, 161 superelastic Ni-Ti tubes with outer diameter (Dout) ranging from 2 mm to 3 mm, Dout/t ranging from 5 to 25 and gauge lengths (Lg) ranging from 6 to 20 mm were tested. The loading procedure consisted of 3 parts: (I) 1 isothermal full-transformation loading cycle, (II) 50 training cycles, and (III) 20 adiabatic cycles to simulate loading conditions in elastocaloric device. We constructed experimental phase diagrams of buckling modes in λ – Dout/t space for constant Dout and in λ – Dout space for constant Dout/t ratio. Marked areas of functionally stable tubes in these phase diagrams give the design guidance for future developments of durable and efficient elastocaloric devices and other applications, e.g. actuators and dampers.