Failure Analysis of NiTi Wires Used in Medical Applications
Superelastic nitinol wires that fractured under various conditions were examined under a scanning electron microscope in order to characterize the fracture surfaces, produce reference data, and compare the findings with prior published work. The study revealed that nitinol fracture modes and morphologies are generally consistent with those of ductile metals, such as austenitic stainless steel, with one exception: Nitinol exhibits a unique damage mechanism under high bending strain, where damage occurs at the compression side of tight bends or kinks while the tensile side is unaffected. The damage begins as slip line formation due to plastic deformation, which progresses to cracking at high strain levels. The cracks appear to initiate from slip lines and extend in shear (mode II) manner.