Skip to main content
Log in

A Material Model for the Cyclic Behavior of Nitinol

  • Published:
Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The uniaxial behavior of Nitinol in different forms and at different temperatures has been well documented in the literature. Mathematical models for the three-dimensional behavior of this class of materials, covering superelasticity, plasticity, and shape memory effects have been previously developed. Phenomenological models embedded in FEA analysis are part of common practice today in the development of devices made out of Nitinol. In vivo loading of medical devices has cyclic characteristics. There have been some indications in the literature that cyclic loading of Nitinol modifies substantially its behavior. A consortium of several stent manufacturers, Safe Technology and Dassault Systèmes Simulia Corp., dedicated to the development of fatigue laws suitable for life prediction of Nitinol devices, has conducted an extensive experimental study of the modifications in uniaxial behavior of both Nitinol wire and tubing due to cyclic loading. The Abaqus Nitinol material model has been extended to capture some of the phenomena observed and is described in this article. Namely, a preload beyond 6% strain alters the transformation plateaus; if the cyclic load amplitude is large enough, permanent deformations (residual martensite) are observed; the lower plateau increases; and the upper plateau changes. The modifications to the upper plateau are very interesting in the sense that it appears broken: its start stress gets lowered creating a new plateau up to the highest level of cyclic strain, followed by resuming the original plateau until full transformation. Since quite often the geometry of a device at the point at which it is subjected to cyclic loading is very much dependent on the manufacturing, deployment, and preloading sequence, it is important that analyses be conducted with the original material behavior up to that point, and then with the cyclic behavior thereafter.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. D.C. Lagoudas, P.B. Entchev, P. Popov, E. Patoor, L.C. Brinson, and X. Gao, Shape Memory Alloys—Part II: Modeling of Polycrystals, Mech. Mater., 2006, 38(5–6), p 430–462

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. N. Rebelo, X. Gong, A. Hall, A. Pelton, and T. Duerig, Finite Element Analysis on the Cyclic Properties of Superelastic Nitinol, SMST – 2004 Proceedings of the International Conference on Shape Memory and Superelastic Technologies, M. Mertmann, Ed., Oct. 3-7, 2004 (Baden-Baden, Germany), ASM International, 2006, p 157–163

  3. Abaqus Analysis Users Manual, Version 6.9, Dassault Systèmes Simulia Corp., Providence, RI, 2009

  4. F. Auricchio and R. Taylor, Shape-Memory Alloys: Modeling and Numerical Simulations of the Finite-strain Superelastic Behavior, Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Eng., 1996, 143, p 175–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. F. Auricchio, R.L. Taylor, and J. Lubliner, Shape-Memory Alloys: Macromodelling and Numerical Simulations of the Superelastic Behavior, Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Eng., 1997, 146, p 281–312

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. N. Rebelo, X. Gong, and M. Connally, Finite Element Analysis of Plastic Behavior in Nitinol, SMST – 2003 Proceedings of the International Conference on Shape Memory and Superelastic Technologies, A. Pelton and T. Duerig, Ed., May 5-8, 2003 (Pacific Grove, California), SMST Society, 2004, p 501–507

  7. F. Auricchio and L. Petrini, A Three-Dimensional Model Describing Stress-Temperature Induced Solid Phase Transformations: Thermomechanical Coupling and Hybrid Composite Applications, Int. J. Numer. Methods Eng., 2004, 61, p 716–737

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to thank the members of the Nitinol fatigue consortium for the materials provided, and for many helpful discussions. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Brian Berg from Boston Scientific for the wire specimen tests.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nuno Rebelo.

Additional information

This article is an invited paper selected from presentations at Shape Memory and Superelastic Technologies 2010, held May 16-20, 2010, in Pacific Grove, California, and has been expanded from the original presentation.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rebelo, N., Zipse, A., Schlun, M. et al. A Material Model for the Cyclic Behavior of Nitinol. J. of Materi Eng and Perform 20, 605–612 (2011).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: