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Active disassembly

Active Disassembly: fixings made from smart materials which are designed into a product to aid disassembly, for e.g. fixings which can be activated by an particular process or stimulant at the end of life stage.

Nokia for example are developing several disassembly mechanisms using prototype smart materials.

The 5510 prototype contains smart materials which disassemble the phone into sections when heated.  These smart materials can be specially moulded into a particular shape for normal use and, with a certain external trigger like heat, return to their original shape. Shape Memory Alloy SMA actuators curve to open the snap fits holding the cover, display and display window in place.  The screws and screw bosses are made out of a Shape Memory Polymer (SMP), such that no extra parts are required for active disassembly.

Visit the Nokia website to view how disassembly works with SMA and SMP actuators:,,5481,00.html

Design considerations:

  • the order in which the product should disassemble
  • the applicability and suitability of available activators when using different combinations of materials –
    • i.e. bear in mind that some materials may have an adverse environmental affect to some processes.
  • the mechanism for active disassembly must be designed in a such a way so that it is cannot be triggered by being exposed to these conditions during normal or unanticipated use of the product.

More information

For further information on Nokia Smart Materials visit their website,,53709,00.html

Or for more detailed research visit the ‘Active Disassembly Using Smart Materials (ADSM)’ website