Shape memory alloys are metallic materials with the capability of performing as high energy density actuators driven by temperature control. This paper presents a design framework for shape memory alloy (SMA) axial actuators composed of multiple wire sections connected in series. The various wire sections forming the actuators can have distinct cross-sectional areas and lengths, which can be modulated to adjust the overall thermomechanical response of the actuator. The design framework aims to find the optimal cross-sectional areas and lengths of the wire sections forming the axial actuator such that its displacement vs. temperature actuation path approximates a target path. Constraints on the length-to-diameter aspect ratio and stress of the wire sections are incorporated. A reduced-order numerical model for the multi-section SMA actuators that allows for efficient design evaluations is derived and implemented. An approach to incorporate uncertainty in the geometry and material parameters of the actuators within the design framework is implemented to allow for the determination of robust actuator designs. A representative application example of the design framework is provided illustrating the benefits of using multiple wire sections in axial actuators to modulate their overall response and approximate a target displacement vs. temperature actuation path.

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