Scientists have discovered that by twisting sewing thread and fishing line into a coil, they can make artificial muscle that is 100 times stronger than any human or animal sinew to be used in prosthetic limbs, robots, medical implants, and more.
The experiments from the University of Texas at Dallas haven’t created the first artificial muscle on the market, reports The Los Angeles Times. But most artificial muscle is often expensive or stores low amounts of energy, the journal Science reports.
“Extreme twisting produces coiled muscles that can contract by 49%, lift loads over 100 times heavier than can human muscle of the same length and weight, and generate 5.3 kilowatts of mechanical work per kilogram of muscle weight, similar to that produced by a jet engine,” Science reported.
The new polymer fibers are made of cheap materials that cost only about $5 per kilogram. For the experiment, scientists took fibers that were a few hundred micrometers long and twisted them until they coiled. As the cable coiled, it became stronger, and researchers blew heat on it with a heat gun to set the coil.
By applying heat to the coils, the scientists found they could make versions of the artificial muscle fibers contract by 49 percent or expand by 67 percent, reports The Times.
The fibers can go through millions of expand-contract cycles, making them reusable and durable.
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