UT Researchers Create Nanotech Artificial Muscles
In the March 20 issue of the journal Science, researchers at the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas have published an article entitled 'Giant Stroke, Superelastic Carbon Nanotube Aerogel Muscles,' describing the development of a new type of artifical muscle which can operate at extreme temperatures.
"[The] research group created carbon nanotube aerogel sheets by pulling nanotubes from a mass of disordered tubes into organized bundles of ribbons," writes Ars Technica's Yun Xie. "These bundles formed an aerogel with a surprisingly low density (about 1.5 mg/cm3), making them nearly as light as air. Just one gram of this material can cover an area of over 30 m2. Although these sheets can spread out, they are also compressible. Their thickness can be reduced 400-fold, decreasing their overall volume. Perhaps even more notable than their low density is their amazing elasticity, which is simultaneously combined with hardness."
"For the next installment of the Terminator franchise, Hollywood might skip the polymimetic liquid alloys – they're so 2003 – and turn to the laboratory of Ray Baughman," suggests Wired's Brandon Keim.
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