By Omer Gulzar
Carbon nanotubes – a special configuration of carbon in a cylindrical form – have important mechanical, electrical and conductive properties, making them an important additive in mechanical and structural materials.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Wollongong in Australia, Han-yang University in Korea, and University of British Columbia in Canada have created unique nanotube fibres that mimic the contractile movement of muscles. These fibres can then reverse their twist when the electrical current is inverted.
Conventionally, artificial muscles are made from metals or polymers but lack the ability to twist, bend and turn. The new
innovation lead the way with their ability to twist and turn a 1000 times more than any material constructed to date. They do this by taking advantage of the unique properties of cylindrical nanotubes which are ten thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, yet have the capability to be tough, flexible and strong.
The torsional rotation of nanotubes mimic’s the movement of a large conventional motor but is minute in size. It can therefore be suited for novel, attractive tools in the field of fluid mechanics. Other potential application of such material includes microfluidic pumps, valve drives, and mixers.
Such discoveries are a catalyst for discussion in the innovation community. RIC is inviting CSO/CTO to join the conversation in the cross pollination of ideas. November 22nd marks the offical launch of this network with a session losely focused on materials. The first session will be hosted at Xerox Canada — a leader in materials manufacturing — in Sheridan Research and Technology Park. Click here to leanr more and register.
Omer is currently at the University of Toronto finishing his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology. At the RIC he is undertaking an internship as a Bio-business intern, where he brings together his science based analytical skills and merges them with business development.
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