The work is leading to groundbreaking technologies for safer, more efficient aviation and space exploration

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Othmane Benafan with NASA’s Glenn Research Center (Photo courtesy of Bridget R. Caswell)

NASA is on the brink of creating an aviation transformation — improved aerodynamic performance through the use of a new metal alloy that will enable aircraft wings to bend and adapt to flight conditions while in the air instead of remaining in a fixed position.

The accelerated development of shape memory alloys, a cutting-edge, smart metal that can bend, change shape and then return to its original state like a stretched rubber band, has come about through the work of NASA Materials Research Engineer Othmane Benafan and his team.

“Othmane has taken something that people have worked on in the laboratory, and he has put it in the aerospace system,” said Rickey Shyne, director of research and engineering at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. “Whether moving aircraft wings or pointing satellites in space, shape memory alloys are a breakthrough technology.” …

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