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Scientists Create Carbon Fiber Artificial Muscles That Can Lift 12,600 Times Their Own Weight

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Artificial muscles made of carbon fiber are now capable of lifting 12,600 times their own weight. Scientists published a new study that outlines how to design artificial muscles that are super strong.

These artificial muscles could make bodybuilders jealous.

Carbon Fiber Artificial Muscles

Researchers from the University of Illinois published a study in the journal Smart Materials and Structures revealing how to make high strength artificial muscles. These muscles are able to withstand 60 MPa of mechanical stress, capable of tensile strokes that are 25 percent stronger, and produced specific work of up to 758 joules per kilogram.

This specific work total is 18 times more than what natural muscles can produce. Scientists in the study are already touting the benefits that this research could produce. Caterina Lamuta, a researcher on the study says that the low cost and lightweight material could improve the fields of robotics, prosthetics, orthotics, and human assistive devices.

For the study, the researchers designed the artificial muscles from carbon fiber-reinforced siloxane rubber. The muscles were designed to have a coiled geometry. To work the muscles don't need a large amount of electricity. A .04mm muscle is able to lift half a gallon of water a little more than an inch with minimal electricity used.

The purpose of the study was to make coiled artificial muscles stronger and more practical. To make it easier to shape the carbon fiber the researchers added siloxane rubber and then twisted into the coiled shape.

The muscles can be made to contract by applying a small electric current to the ends. This heats up the silicone rubber which then pushes the carbon fibers apart. Once the carbon fibers are apart, the diameter of the muscles expands and the lengths contracts, according to New Atlas.

Soft Robots

In the field of robotics, creating an artificial muscle has been a goal. In November 2017 MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory teamed up with Harvard's Wyss Institute to create a strong and affordable artificial muscle. The goal is to create soft robots that are able to lift items 1,000 time their own weight.

They were able to create an artificial muscle that could be assembled in 10 minutes with materials that cost less than $1. It uses technology that creates a vacuum by sealing a structural scaffolding inside of a bag which then changes its motion to complete the effect.

The artificial muscles were inspired by origami. Depending on how the artificial muscles are constructed that will determine its motion.

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