Active materials have long been used in the construction of sensors and devices. Examples are piezo-electric ceramics and shape memory alloys. The more recently developed ferromagnetic shape-memory alloys (FSMAs) have received considerable attention due to their large magnetic field-induced, reversible strains (up to 10%). In this article, we review the basic physical characteristics of the FSMA Ni-Mn-Ga (crystallography, thermal, mechanical and magnetic behavior). Also, we present some of the works currently under way in the areas of pulse-field and acoustic-assisted actuation, and vibration energy absorption. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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