An international team of researchers has developed a method of creating synthetic muscles made of fishing line and sewing thread, which are a hundred times more powerful than human muscles.
The inexpensive production process twists and coils sewing thread and high-strength polymer fishing line, creating artificial muscle capable of generating 7.1 horsepower per kilogram – an amount of mechanical energy comparable to that of a jet engine.
Testing confirmed the muscles’ ability to lift and create mechanical energy a hundred times greater than the same length and weight of normal human muscles, Science Recorder reports.
Chemical fuels and even light absorption power the muscles, the polymer fibers of which twist and coil like a rubber band, contracting when heated and expanding when cooled. Twisting a muscle coiled in the opposite direction has the opposite effect. The muscles can contract to 50 percent of their length, compared to human muscles’ 20 percent.
The technology is usable for millions of cycles, expands and contracts under heavy mechanical loads and can spin a heavy rotor more than 10,000 revolutions per minute.
“The application opportunities for these polymer muscles are vast,” author, chemistry chair at UT Dallas and Director of the NanoTech Institute Dr. Ray Baughman said. “Today’s most advanced humanoid robots, prosthetic limbs and wearable exoskeletons are limited by motors and hydraulic systems, whose size and weight restrict dexterity, force generation and work capability.”
Baughman developed the technology with scientists from other universities in Australia, Canada, China, South Korea and Turkey.