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Researchers at the University of Dallas, US, have created a new type of artificial muscle. The muscles consist of arrays of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, which push away from each other when a voltage is applied, effectively working the muscle.
The new material has strange properties: Among others, it is an aerogel with a density similar to air, but weight for weight it is stronger than steel and stiffer than diamond. It can elongate 10 times more than natural muscles and at rates 1,000 times higher than a natural muscles. And the artificial muscles function in an unusually large temperature range, from below the temperature of liquid nitrogen to above the melting point of iron.
For now the researchers have managed to produce sheets 16cm wide and several meters long.