General, Research, Technology

MIT Develops Cheap Nylon Artificial Muscles

Scientists have been trying for many yearsto develop the most durable, but at the same time inexpensive to manufacture artificial muscles, but so far such developments have not led to a clearly successful result. Muscles are either very expensive to manufacture or too fragile to use outside of delicate laboratory conditions. Specialists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology managed to create strong muscles from nylon, which costs mere pennies.

The secret of technology is heatingnylon fibers. When heated, such fibers contract in length but increase in thickness. Moreover, if you act on the fiber with heat from a certain side, you can control its contraction and achieve high accuracy in the direction of the force created by such an “impromptu muscle”.

True, to create muscle from nylon, scientistsI had to go for some tricks. For example, the cross-section of the fiber should not be round, but square, for better heating it from a specific side and precise control over movements. In this case, the heat source can be anything: electrical resistance, chemical reaction, and even a laser. Nylon fibers are surprisingly strong and resistant to external influences, which scientists have proved by reducing them under the influence of heat for 100,000 cycles with a frequency of up to 17 times per second.

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This seemingly simple discovery maylead to a kind of revolution in a wide variety of industries. Just imagine clothes that can automatically adjust their size to fit your body, or a car whose interior design will change right before your eyes. The discovery in the field of medicine and robotics has great potential. Perhaps one day the nylon muscles will be used in the manufacture of anthropomorphic robots. But today, of course, this is just laboratory research, and when the technology goes beyond the walls of MIT, we cannot know.