Nitinol Basic Lever

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Students build a device that utilizes the shape memory property of Nitinol. The small change in length in Nitinol upon heating causes a larger motion in a lever. This device can be used to discuss topics from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and more. A handout with directions and questions comes with the kit. In addition, a supplemental worksheet with math problems dealing with levers is included.


Students should have an introductory understanding of nanotechnology that can be provided by Kits 1, 2, and 4.

Instruction Time:

Approximately 40-60 minutes


Middle or high school students


Students will build a device that features a basic lever that uses Nitinol. Students will use the handout provided to answer questions about the device. Students will consider the physical properties of Nitinol and will make calculations using the lever.


  • Illinois State Science Learning Standards

    • 12.C.5b. Analyze the properties of materials (e.g., mass, boiling point, melting point, hardness) in relation to their physical and/or chemical structures.
  • Illinois State Math Learning Standards

    • 7.A.3b. Apply the concepts and attributes of length, capacity, weight/mass, perimeter, area, volume, time, temperature and angles measures in practical situations.
  • National Science Education Standards

    • Content Standard B: Structure and Properties of Matter
  • NCTM Standards

    • Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.


  • 30 activity guides for students with key
  • 1 supplemental worksheet with math problems with key
  • 30 pieces of 4 cm crimped Nitinol
  • 60 tacks
  • 30 10" x 10" foamboard bases
  • 30 pieces of cardboard
  • 30 levers made of thick paper
  • 60 AA batteries
  • 30 battery holders
  • 30 small plastic bags
  • 60 small safety pins
  • 360 pennies

Online Documents: