The basis of artificial muscles was the usual nylon thread in combination with conductive ink, which allowed them to perform many movements like muscle tissue. Scientists believe that the technology can find application in robotics, the creation of new-generation prostheses, as well as in flexible components of cars and in aviation.
The principle of the fibers is quite simple – they are reduced by heat. At the same time they demonstrate enviable endurance, maintaining their efficiency even after 100,000 flexion / extension and maintaining the speed up to 17 cycles / sec.
The technology of forming an artificial muscle is as follows. First, a thread with a rectangular cross section is formed from a nylon thread having a circular cross-section, using a special rolling mill. Then conductive ink is applied to one of its sides. Changing their temperature, you can achieve that the fibers will be reduced in the right direction.
“The method proposed by MIT specialists is new and elegant with good experimental confirmation,” said Professor Wolongong of the University of Geoffrey Spinks, “This is a simple, perfectly working idea. Materials are inexpensive, and manufacturing technology is simple and versatile. “
Other attempts were also made to create artificial muscles, in particular, from a polymer lineand a spiral filament, as well as from carbon nanotubes in combination with rubber, but all of them proved to be very expensive in practical use.