Low cost artificial muscles for residential and industrial energy savings

M. Dias Lima
United States

Keywords: solid state actuators, artificial muscles, carbon nanotubes, polymeric fibers


It has been demonstrated (1,2,3) that highly twisted carbon nanotube and polymeric fibers are also 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 motors: 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. 1. Lima, M.D., et al. Science 338 (2012) 929 2. Haines, C.S., et al. Science 343 (2014) 868 3. Lima, M.D., et al. Small 11 (2015) 3113