Our surrounding environment is teeming with useful energy, waiting to be
harnessed (i.e., solar, wind, tidal, etc.). If this energy can be exploited
at the point where it is required, then the need to carry additional power
sources can be reduced. In recent years, magnetic shape memory alloys (MSMA)
have demonstrated an ability to convert mechanical energy to magnetic
energy. Such conversions have lead to the investigation of these alloys for
energy harvesting applications.
There are a number of issues to address when forming a MSMA/polymer
composite. The polymer must be stiff enough to transmit the induced strain
through the entire matrix, yet soft enough not to exceed the MSMA blocking
stress. Also, the polymer must not dampen any force applied before it can be
transmitted to the MSMA particles.
Ten polymers have been investigated for MSMA/polymer composites. The work
presented here will describe progress in nickel-manganese-gallium
(Ni-Mn-Ga)/polymer composite fabrication and characterization. Special
attention will be given to polymer selection, optimizing particle dispersion
and MSMA/polymer interfacial interactions.