The paper presents a modular architecture for SMA actuators elastically compensated by thin beams loaded axially beyond their buckling limit. Starting from the exact equations for the elastic curve of the beams, an approximate procedure is developed for the engineering design of the entire compensating system. The theory of the compensator is validated successfully against a finite element model and experimental results. The experimental characterization of a complete prototype actuator shows that the forces generated by the compensated actuator are constant for both instroke and outstroke over the full range of displacements. The actuator concept proposed lends itself to modular assembly to multiply either the stroke covered (series combination) or the force generated (parallel combination).

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