Making artificial muscles with a spin

By Meghan Rosen, 09:03 AM February 21, 2014

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Scientists have given ordinary fishing line and sewing thread a new twist. When coiled into tight corkscrews, the fibers can lift loads more than 100 times as heavy as those hefted by human muscles.

Each strand of fishing line and nylon thread contains tiny plastic polymers neatly organized into parallel chains. These chains contract when heated, making the strands plump up and shorten. This change forces wound-up fibers to rotate, which can tighten the corkscrew.

Materials scien...

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