Is there a Hulk hiding in your sock drawer? Thanks to the work of researchers from University of Wollongong, there could be.
Their revolutionary artificial muscle generates 40 times more flex than its human counterpart thanks to one simple item of clothing: the sock.
The UOW team used common materials such as cotton, wool and nylon to create strong muscle-like devices comprised of a coiled length of yarn, sheathed in a close-fitting carbon nanotube sock
Chief researcher Geoffrey Spinks says the combination increases power by making the device more efficient.
“Previously, we were applying energy to the entire muscle, but only the outer part of the fibre was responsible for actuation,” Professor Spinks says.
“By placing a sheath on the muscle, we can focus only that energy on the outer part of the fibre and convert this input energy more quickly and efficiently.”
Because it is made of readily available materials, the device is also cheaper than others based on similar principles.
Possible applications include clothing that responds to temperature or smart drug release valves that open and close depending on chemical changes in the body.
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