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Bionic muscles developed by scientists powered by alcohol and hydrogen

by Medindia Content Team on March 18, 2006 at 8:26 PM
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Bionic muscles developed by scientists powered by alcohol and hydrogen

In the direction of development of prosthetic limbs researchers at University of Texas have developed artificial, super-strength muscles which are powered by alcohol and hydrogen.

As it appears in Science, these artificial muscles are 100 times more powerful than the body's own.

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Two types of muscle are being investigated by US researchers at the Nanotech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas, working with colleagues from South Korea. Both release the chemical energy of fuels, such as hydrogen and alcohol, while consuming oxygen.

The most powerful type, "shorted fuel cell muscles" convert chemical energy into heat, causing a special shape-memory metal alloy to contract.

Another kind of muscle being developed by the team converted chemical energy into electrical energy which caused a material made from carbon nanotube electrodes to bend.
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Dr John Madden, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada said, "The muscle consumes oxygen and fuel that can be transported via a circulation system; the muscle itself supports the chemical reaction that leads to mechanical work; electrochemical circuits can act as nerves, controlling actuation; some energy is stored locally in the muscle itself; and, like natural muscle, the materials studied contract linearly."
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