Low cost artificial muscles for residential and industrial energy savings

M. Dias Lima
Lintec of America,
United States

Keywords: artificial muscles, actuators, polymeric fibers, carbon nanotubes, energy harvesting, temperature regulation


Thermally driven actuators based on highly twisted polymeric fibers are capable to generate impressive tensile actuation, providing large strokes and vastly exceeding the work and power capabilities of natural skeletal muscle. Contraction of over 50%, and lifting capacity up to 270 pounds weight have being demonstrated. More than a million cycles of actuation were performed without significant loss of performance. These actuators are also can operate as torsional actuators: a single fiber can rotate heavy rotors at up to 55,000 rpm. Actuation can be driven by electrical signals or by relatively small variation in environmental temperature, which can be converted into mechanical work. That allows the use of these low cost actuators for automatic temperature and air flow control and natural light absorption or reflection in small and large structures such as residences and factory installations.