State of SMAs in Aerospace | SMST Aerospace Panel

State of SMAs in Aerospace | SMST Aerospace Panel

Moderator: Tad Calkins, The Boeing Company
& Othmane Benafan, NASA

On May 19th, Kinitics Automation Limited was invited as one of the panelists to discuss how Shape Memory Alloy is the state of the art innovation in Aerospace and what the industry could look like in 10 years from now.

Each of the panelists were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and what their SMA expertise brings to the industry. The panel members explored past successes, current challenges, and the future opportunities that will continue driving the SMA field.

The event was audience-engaging with a focus on receiving questions from the gallery to further the discovery and sharing of SMA technologies.

The history of SMA is closely tied to aerospace, starting with the invention of NiTi at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory and including applications on aircraft and spacecraft. Aerospace applications have pushed the field to develop everything from new commercialized alloys, design tools, supply chains, regulatory governance to  system solutions. 

Ciera believes that talent, collaboration, and hard work are essential to success. Before graduating from Butler University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, and from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, she began her career as an Engineering Intern at Fort Wayne Metals. Moving on to new challenges, she became a Process Engineer supporting the Nitinol department. Onward, she held various roles including Engineering Project Manager, Associate Product Manager, Senior Engineer, and now Program Manager for Nitinol Actuators. During this time she continued her education by earning both a Master’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Organizational Leadership from the University of Saint Francis. Using her passion for knowledge and leveraging the skills of her teammates, Ciera succeeded in both engineering and commercial roles, and in 2017 became a Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) as well as became a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) in 2019. Now, in her current role, she leads a team committed to bettering our material understanding of SMAs and helping customers find new applications for this revolutionary technology

Dr. Doug Nicholson joined Boeing in June 2015 and currently resides as a lead engineer at The Boeing Company in Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T). His current work focuses on the development, maturation and transition of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuation systems for aerospace applications. His current SMA projects include the development of standard test methods, actuated wind tunnel models, SMA reconfigurable technology – vortex generators (SMART-VG) and SMA enabled space thermal management systems. These activities include material development and processing, actuation system modeling, design optimization, system integration and wind tunnel testing to sub and full scale flight demonstrations. He currently chairs the Consortium for Advancement of SMA Research and Technology (CASMART) and the ASTM task group E08.05.10 – SMA for Actuation.

Dr. Nicholson earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2017; M.S. in aerospace engineering from UCF in 2011; and B.S. in mathematics and physics from Florida Atlantic University in 2008. His doctoral and masters research included microstructural and macroscopic investigations of SMAs under multi-axial loading and heating conditions. These fundamental studies were targeted at improving the durability and stability of SMA materials in aerospace and biomedical applications. 

Dean Pick is the president of Kinitics Automation, a company based in Vancouver, BC that develops and manufactures motion control products based on SMA materials and the company’s proprietary Bundled Wire technology. Dean is a Professional Engineer with a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree from the University of Waterloo, and is the inventor of five granted patents in the fields of transmission control and shape memory alloys. He has worked extensively in the automotive, process control, and aerospace industries.