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This is a demonstration of a memory metal (Nitinol) spring. Taken from a Discovery Channel documentary.

Thanks to those who pointed out that this is not really a new material as I thought.

From Wikipedia:
“The term nitinol is derived from its composition and its place of discovery: (Nickel Titanium-Naval Ordnance Laboratory – Ni Ti N.O.L.). William J. Buehler along with Frederick Wang discovered its properties during research at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1958.”

“The discovery of the shape-memory effect in general dates back to 1932, when Swedish researcher Arne Olander first observed the property in Gold-Cadmium alloys. The same effect was observed in Copper-Zinc alloys in the early 1950s.”

You can visit the Wikipedia article for more (mechanism, applications, etc):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitinol

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