The expansion and contraction of muscles keeps us alive every second of every day. Even though it’s such a basic part of our existence, creating artificial muscles has proven to be a bit more complicated. That is, until now. Scientists have recently found what could be a good solution: yarn full of wax.
Developed by scientists at University of Texas at Dallas with help from around the globe, this artificial muscle technology centres around the use of carbon nanotubes, twisted into yarn and filled with normal, everyday candle wax. When exposed to heat, the resulting yarn-like tissue can expand and contract like organic muscle as the wax inside melts and re-solidifies.
These wax muscles aren’t just an impressive nanotech breakthrough; they’re also way more efficient than the ones you and I have. Nanocarbon muscles can lift 100,000 times their weight and generate around 85 times more mechanical power than meat-muscles of the same size. In addition, the muscle-yarn can be woven just like any other cloth yarn can be, which makes it a very versatile material. Eventually, this technology could make its way into commercial motors, but it won’t be making its way into your body; researchers note the muscles are “presently unsuitable” for replacing your own puny meat. Maybe someday. [Popular Science]