Nylon fibers made to flex like muscles

MIT engineers find a simple and inexpensive new approach to creating bending artificial muscle fibers.

Artificial muscles — materials that contract and expand somewhat like muscle fibers do — can have many applications, from robotics to components in the automobile and aviation industries. Now, MIT researchers have come up with one of the simplest and lowest-cost systems yet for developing such “muscles,” in which a material reproduces some of the bending motions that natural muscle tissues perform.

The key ingredient, cheap and ubiquitous, is ordinary nylon fiber.

The new approach to harnessing this basic synthetic fiber material lies in shaping and heating the fibers in a particular way, which is described in a new paper in the journal Advanced Materials by Seyed Mirvakili, a doctoral candidate, and Ian Hunter, the George N. Hatsopoulos Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


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MIT News| Posted by David L. Chandler on November 23, 2016

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