Shape memory alloy (SMA) wire actuators have been increasingly used in various devices and applications due to their high energy density and simple design. With the use of these actuators the questions of size effects on their behavior need to be addressed. This paper presents a study on the cyclic loading behavior of large diameter SMA wires subjected to different thermo-mechanical loading paths. Wires of two different diameters are investigated in the current study—1.78 mm and 2.16 mm. The issues addressed in this work include the investigation and design of a gripping technique for the large diameter wires to avoid slippage and study of heat treatment conditions for optimized superelastic behavior. After the heat treatment, specimens are subjected to cyclic mechanical loading. Two different cyclic loading patterns have been investigated: loading up to a given value of stress or up to a given value of strain.

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