There are two ways of using SMAs as actuators for shape control of flexible structures; they can be either embedded within composite laminates or externally attached to the structures. Since the actuator can be placed at different offset distances from the beam, external actuators produce more bending moment and, consequently, more shape change. Such a configuration also allows introduction of fast convection cooling, very important in shape control applications that require a high-frequency response of SMA actuators. Although combination and modeling of externally-attached SMA actuator wires and strips have been widely considered by some researchers, these studies have some weaknesses that neglecting them would yield theoretically and experimentally erroneous results. In this work, the aforementioned limitations of attaching actuators to the smart structures have been removed and the modeling of a large deflection flexible beam actuated by two active SMA actuators is carried out. The Brinson constitutive equations for SMA materials are coupled with the nonlinear beam behavior and the coupled system of equations is numerically solved for some particular cases. The analysis method done in this paper can be easily extended to the complicated smart structures with externally-attached SMA wires.

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