Carbon Nanotube Superelastic Artificial Muscles

Posted 20 Mar 2009 at 17:14 UTC by steve Share This

Most roboticists have played with air muscles or muscle-wire and know they're less than ideal actuators for robots. Wouldn't it be nice to have something better? Say, a material with a Poisson's ratio of 15, a contraction rate of 30,000% per second, an elongation rate of 220% per second, the density of a gas, and a specific strength greater than steel. If that's not enough for you, how about if this new muscle material could expand 4,000 times faster than human muscles and could be switched on and off up to 1,000 times per second, and functioned in temperatures ranging from -196C to +1538C? Sounds impossible but these are the characteristics of a Carbon Nanotube aerogel developed by Ray Baughman and researchers at the University of Dallas NanoTech Institute. Videos and animations of the new material after the break. For more see the UTD press release, Nature article. See also the Science summary of the researcher's paper, Giant-Stroke, Superelastic Carbon Nanotube Aerogel Muscles.

Where do I get me some to play with?, posted 20 Mar 2009 at 19:17 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

As light as this stuff is, I could easily see some cool robotic winged flying contraptions in the near future! Very cool! I wonder how power hungry they are?

Want want want!, posted 20 Mar 2009 at 21:59 UTC by jkkroll » (Master)

With my luck though they'll operate on milliVolts at kiloAmps.

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