Torsional carbon nanotube artificial muscles



Publication Details

Foroughi, J., Spinks, G. M., Wallace, G. G., Oh, J., Kozlov, M. E., Fang, S., Mirfakhrai, T., Madden, J. D. W., Shin, M., Kim, S. and Baughman, R. H. (2011). Torsional carbon nanotube artificial muscles. Science, 334 (6055), 494-497.


Rotary motors of conventional design can be rather complex and are therefore difficult to miniaturize; previous carbon nanotube artificial muscles provide contraction and bending, but not rotation. We show that an electrolyte-filled twist-spun carbon nanotube yarn, much thinner than a human hair, functions as a torsional artificial muscle in a simple three-electrode electrochemical system, providing a reversible 15,000deg rotation and 590 revolutions per minute. A hydrostatic actuation mechanism, as seen in muscular hydrostats in nature, explains the simultaneous occurrence of lengthwise contraction and torsional rotation during the yarn volume increase caused by electrochemical double-layer charge injection. The use of a torsional yarn muscle as a mixer for a fluidic chip is demonstrated.

Grant Number

ARC/FF0669110, ARC/DP110101073

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