Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Wax-filled nanotech yarn behaves like powerful, super-strong muscle: Yarn muscles could power robots, micromotors, intelligent textiles

Abstract:
New artificial muscles made from nanotech yarns and infused with paraffin wax can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight and generate 85 times more mechanical power during contraction than the same size natural muscle, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and their international team from Australia, China, South Korea, Canada and Brazil.

Wax-filled nanotech yarn behaves like powerful, super-strong muscle: Yarn muscles could power robots, micromotors, intelligent textiles

Dallas, TX | Posted on November 16th, 2012

The artificial muscles are yarns constructed from carbon nanotubes, which are seamless, hollow cylinders made from the same type of graphite layers found in the core of ordinary pencils. Individual nanotubes can be 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, yet, pound-for-pound, can be 100 times stronger than steel.

"The artificial muscles that we've developed can provide large, ultrafast contractions to lift weights that are 200 times heavier than possible for a natural muscle of the same size," said Dr. Ray Baughman [pronounced BAK-man], team leader, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas. "While we are excited about near-term applications possibilities, these artificial muscles are presently unsuitable for directly replacing muscles in the human body."

Described in a study published online today in the journal Science, the new artificial muscles are made by infiltrating a volume-changing "guest," such as the paraffin wax used for candles, into twisted yarn made of carbon nanotubes. Heating the wax-filled yarn, either electrically or using a flash of light, causes the wax to expand, the yarn volume to increase, and the yarn length to contract.

The combination of yarn volume increase with yarn length decrease results from the helical structure produced by twisting the yarn. A child's finger cuff toy, which is designed to trap a person's fingers in both ends of a helically woven cylinder, has an analogous action. To escape, one must push the fingers together, which contracts the tube's length and expands its volume and diameter.

"Because of their simplicity and high performance, these yarn muscles could be used for such diverse applications as robots, catheters for minimally invasive surgery, micromotors, mixers for microfluidic circuits, tunable optical systems, microvalves, positioners and even toys," Baughman said.

Muscle contraction - also called actuation - can be ultrafast, occurring in 25-thousandths of a second. Including times for both actuation and reversal of actuation, the researchers demonstrated a contractile power density of 4.2 kW/kg, which is four times the power-to-weight ratio of common internal combustion engines.

To achieve these results, the guest-filled carbon nanotube muscles were highly twisted to produce coiling, as with the coiling seen of a rubber band of a rubber-band-powered model airplane.

When free to rotate, a wax-filled yarn untwists as it is heated electrically or by a pulse of light. This rotation reverses when heating is stopped and the yarn cools. Such torsional action of the yarn can rotate an attached paddle to an average speed of 11,500 revolutions per minute for more than 2 million reversible cycles. Pound-per-pound, the generated torque is slightly higher than obtained for large electric motors, Baughman said.

Because the yarn muscles can be twisted together and are able to be woven, sewn, braided and knotted, they might eventually be deployed in a variety of self-powered intelligent materials and textiles. For example, changes in environmental temperature or the presence of chemical agents can change guest volume; such actuation could change textile porosity to provide thermal comfort or chemical protection. Such yarn muscles also might be used to regulate a flow valve in response to detected chemicals, or adjust window blind opening in response to ambient temperature.

Even without the addition of a guest material, the co-authors found that introducing coiling to the nanotube yarn increases tenfold the yarn's thermal expansion coefficient. This thermal expansion coefficient is negative, meaning that the unfilled yarn contracts as it is heated. Heating the yarn in inert atmosphere from room temperature to about 2,500 degrees Celsius provided more than 7 percent contraction when lifting heavy loads, indicating that these muscles can be deployed to temperatures 1000 C above the melting point of steel, where no other high-work-capacity actuator can survive.

"This greatly amplified thermal expansion for the coiled yarns indicates that they can be used as intelligent materials for temperature regulation between 50 C below zero and 2,500 C," said Dr. Márcio Lima, a research associate in the NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas who was co-lead author of the Science paper with graduate student Na Li of Nankai University and the NanoTech Institute.

"The remarkable performance of our yarn muscle and our present ability to fabricate kilometer-length yarns suggest the feasibility of early commercialization as small actuators comprising centimeter-scale yarn length," Baughman said. "The more difficult challenge is in upscaling our single-yarn actuators to large actuators in which hundreds or thousands of individual yarn muscles operate in parallel."

Other UT Dallas Nanotech Institute researchers involved with the work were research associates Dr. Mônica Jung de Andrade, Dr. Jiyoung Oh and Dr. Dongseok Suh; Dr. Shaoli Fang, associate research professor; Dr. Mikhail Kozlov, research scientist; Carter Haines and Taylor Ware, graduate students in materials science and engineering; and Dr. Walter Voit, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

Additional collaborators are from four continents: Dr. Geoffrey M. Spinks and Dr. Javad Foroughi at the University of Wollongong in Australia; Dr. Min Kyoon Shin and Dr. Seon Jeong Kim at Hanyang University in South Korea; Dr. Yongsheng Chen at Nankai University in China; Dr. John D. W. Madden at the University of British Columbia in Canada; Leonardo D. Machado and Douglas S. Galvão at the State University of Campinas in Brazil; and Alexandre F. Fonseca at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil.

This research was principally funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, with additional funding from the Office of Naval Research, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the Creative Research Initiative Center for Bio-Artificial Muscle, the Korea-U.S. Air Force Cooperation Program, the Australian Research Council, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Foundation for Research Support of the State of Sao Paulo and Brazil's National Council for Scientific and Technological Development.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Amanda Siegfried

972-883-4335

Copyright © University of Texas at Dallas

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Video - Dr. Ray Baughman, University of Texas at Dallas, describes carbon nanotube yarns:

Related News Press

News and information

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

FEI Launches Apreo – Industry-Leading Versatile, High-Performance SEM: The Apreo SEM provides high-resolution surface information with excellent contrast, and the flexibility to accommodate a large range of samples, applications and conditions May 4th, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

An Experiment Seeks to Make Quantum Physics Visible to the Naked Eye May 3rd, 2016

Quantum sensors for high-precision magnetometry of superconductors May 3rd, 2016

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

A compact, efficient single photon source that operates at ambient temperatures on a chip: Highly directional single photon source concept is expected to lead to a significant progress in producing compact, cheap, and efficient sources of quantum information bits for future appls May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

An Experiment Seeks to Make Quantum Physics Visible to the Naked Eye May 3rd, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Non-animal approach to predict impact of nanomaterials on human lung published Archives of Toxicology publishes workshop recommendations May 2nd, 2016

Clay nanotube-biopolymer composite scaffolds for tissue engineering May 1st, 2016

NREL finds nanotube semiconductors well-suited for PV systems April 27th, 2016

Researchers create artificial protein to control assembly of buckyballs April 27th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Nuclear pores captured on film: Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, researchers from the University of Basel have filmed 'living' nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

Non-animal approach to predict impact of nanomaterials on human lung published Archives of Toxicology publishes workshop recommendations May 2nd, 2016

New drug-delivery approach holds potential for treating obesity May 2nd, 2016

Discoveries

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

A compact, efficient single photon source that operates at ambient temperatures on a chip: Highly directional single photon source concept is expected to lead to a significant progress in producing compact, cheap, and efficient sources of quantum information bits for future appls May 3rd, 2016

Nuclear pores captured on film: Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, researchers from the University of Basel have filmed 'living' nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

Announcements

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

FEI Launches Apreo – Industry-Leading Versatile, High-Performance SEM: The Apreo SEM provides high-resolution surface information with excellent contrast, and the flexibility to accommodate a large range of samples, applications and conditions May 4th, 2016

Nuclear pores captured on film: Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, researchers from the University of Basel have filmed 'living' nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

Military

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

Making invisible physics visible: The Jayich Lab has created a new sensor technology that captures nanoscale images with high spatial resolution and sensitivity May 2nd, 2016

Nanograft seeded with 3 cell types promotes blood vessel formation to speed wound healing April 27th, 2016

The light stuff: A brand-new way to produce electron spin currents - Colorado State University physicists are the first to demonstrate using non-polarized light to produce a spin voltage in a metal April 26th, 2016

Research partnerships

Making invisible physics visible: The Jayich Lab has created a new sensor technology that captures nanoscale images with high spatial resolution and sensitivity May 2nd, 2016

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic