PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Memory metal. Samples of a memory metal being studied under a profile projector. This device allows the shape and dimensions of objects to be measured accurately as part of manufacturing quality control. Memory metals are alloys of nickel, titanium & aluminium or copper. Once manufactured in a certain shape the metal may be deformed with little effort, but will regain its shape upon gentle heating. The heat makes the metal plastic, allowing it to return to the structural arrangement in which it was made (its minimum energy configuration).
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