Sydney: Researchers have created a muscle yarn that is 10 times thinner than human hair but can lift over 100,000 times its own  weight, according to a new research.

The hybrid yarn muscles are based on carbon nanotubes, which are hollow cylinders just one carbon atom thick like the layers of graphite. On their own, carbon nanotubes are about 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair but they can be 100 times stronger than steel, the journal Science reported.

The scientists accomplished the feat by combining carbon nanotubes with a wax material. Because the muscles are dry they can be stimulated by external conditions such as temperature. Australian scientists from ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), University of Wollongong, have  developed the new artificial muscle with an international team  across four continents. They combined the nanotubes with a wax material like household candles.

The yarn can be potentially used in self powered intelligent textiles that could automatically react to environmental conditions  like heat or sweat, according to an ACES statement."When heated, either electrically or with a flash of light, the wax in the yarn muscles expands, causing contraction of the nanotube yarn and generating a very large contraction," according to ACES researcher Geoff Spinks.


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