Shape memory alloys (SMA) are thermally activated smart materials. Due to their ability to change into a previously imprinted actual shape through the means of thermal activation, they are suitable as actuators for mechatronical systems. Despite of the advantages shape memory alloy actuators provide (lightweight-actuators, lower costs…etc.) these elements are only seldom integrated by engineers into mechatronical systems. The reason for this phenomenon is the insufficiently described dynamic behavior, especially at different boundary conditions. Also the lack of empirical data (like fatigue behavior and thermal balances) is a reason why development projects with shape memory actuators lead often to failures. Therefore a need of developing methods, standardized testings of empirical properties and computer aided actuator development systems is motivated. Based on an analysis of energy fluxes into and out of the actuator, a numerical model, implemented in MATLAB/SIMULINK is presented. The numerical model includes also a configuration and design tool which allows simulating different solutions to a problem. Additionally, this paper describes a development method for SMA which is fitted to uniqueness of these smart materials. In conclusion, this paper compares the conventional developing process to the presented method applying a mechatronical SMA-device.

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