Turkish scientists develop artificial muscles from fishing line

Monday, March 03, 2014

Artificial muscles can bear 117 times more than natural muscles

Artificial muscles can bear 117 times more than natural muscles

TEKIRDAG – Turkish scientists are beginning to develop artificial muscle from fishing line for potential applications in biomimetics, robotics, industrial actuators and prostheses.

The research project initially inspired by work undertaken by a team from Texas University, who are working on artificial muscles similarly with `special sewing thread`, has now been developed further by Prof. Dr. Ozer Goktepe, Dean of Engineering Faculty in Namik Kemal University.

Goktepe said, “During our visit to the Texas University, we reviewed the "special sewing thread" and after covering it with carbon nanotubes we tested it. The breakthrough for us came when we discovered that it behaves like natural muscle."

The Turkish team declared that from their experiments with `fishing line` - a cheaper alternative to the costly special thread developed in the Texas university - they discovered that the fishing line can mimic the precise muscle movement in imitation of humans sinews and the artificial muscles can bear 117 times more weight than natural muscles.

“While human muscle can contract 20 percent, this muscle has the capacity to contract 50 percent. With a small stimulus such as heat, electricity, light or microwaves, it can realize a contraction motion repeatedly without deformation,” Goktepe said.

Artificial muscle technology has wide potential applications in biomimetics, including robotics and industrial actuators as well as in advanced prostheses.

Goktepe explained that since their work on the project with Texas University, they received so many enlightening ideas for the artificial muscle implementation such as medically in stimulating a heart beat whilst placed inside the heart muscle. So when the heart is stopped, the product can be stimulated by low voltage thus giving cardiac massage to restart the heart. Also the product could be used as a support for weak arms and legs limbs and in the use of highly advanced prostheses. It can also be used in military operations i.e. in the development of strong and protective clothing, similar to chain mail in suits of armour, in industry with developing the product as a netting apparatus that will allow the expansion and contraction of the threads which can be used for varying filters, and also in search and rescue robots etc.

Defining the artificial muscles as a generic product, Goktepe said, " With this technology you are only limited with your imagination, " and he added that as a next step in project they "most probably we are going to choose to implement this technology in health since the wellbeing of the mankind is most sought after aim of science."

The EAP-based (Electroactive polymers) artificial muscles offer a combination of lightweight, low power input, resilience and agility for locomotion and manipulation.

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