View Full Version : Spun fishing line turned into muscle

23-02-2014, 07:01 PM
Using household tools such as an electric drill and hair dryer, researchers have turned nylon fibres into artificial muscles that can lift 100 times more weight than human muscles.

The work, published today in Science, shows that extensive twisting of common fishing line and sewing thread leads to a spring-like coil with super-strength qualities.

Collaborator Professor Geoff Spinks says it is a much-sought breakthrough that could open the door to the use of artificial muscles in clothing and prosthetic manufacture, robotics, and as a green energy source.

Spinks, from the Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (http://www.electromaterials.edu.au/index.html) at the University of Wollongong (http://www.uow.edu.au), says the discovery is "almost embarrassing".

"It is ironic that we spent all these years looking at exotic materials and of course the lessons we learned from those years led us to this dramatic discovery but it is remarkable that such ordinary materials can do such amazing things," he says.

23-02-2014, 07:02 PM

03-03-2014, 02:54 PM
I remember watching years ago some scientists were attempting to do something very similar with some metals; apply a current and get the metal to shrink, simulating biological muscles.

The critical bits are:

- "Spinks says to use these springs as artificial muscles heat is again applied, causing the whole coil to contract."

- "Critically, with the ordinary fibres, the amount of contraction is as much as 50 per cent of the starting length of the coil"
- "Essentially we get similar levels of contraction in similar speeds of a second or less, but our [artificial] muscles can lift 100 times more weight."

Will have to watch this.

Edit: here's a good video: