Heat activated smart materials to debut in 2014 Corvette

Written by: Laura Hopperton | Published:

Chevrolet has revealed its intentions to incorporate heat activated smart materials into the 2014 Corvette.

The sports car will be the first to utilise a specially developed shape memory alloy wire in place of a heavier motorised actuator to open and close the hatch vent that releases air from the boot.

Chevrolet claims this will allow the boot lid to close more easily than on the previous models, where trapped air could make the lid harder to close.

The shape memory alloy wire is designed to open the hatch vent whenever the deck lid is opened, using heat from an electrical current in a similar manner to the boot lights.

When activated, the wire contracts and moves a lever arm to open the vent, allowing the lid to close.

Once this is done, the electrical current switches off, allowing the wire to cool and return to its normal shape, which closes the vent to maintain cabin temperature.

The shape memory alloy is the product of nearly five years of research and development on smart materials led by General Motors.

"Smart materials like shape memory alloys offer new possibilities for many movable vehicle features," said Jon Lauckner, GM's chief technology officer.

"These new materials enable innovative designs and new and improved features at a lower cost than traditional motors and actuators."


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