PerspectiveMaterials Science

Muscles Made from Metal

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Science  11 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5617, pp. 268-269
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082270

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The conversion of electrical energy into mechanical work plays an important role in robotics. In his Perspective, Baughman discusses new materials that may be used as actuators. He highlights the report of Weissmueller et al., who show how nanostructured platinum might eventually be used as electrochemical actuators that deliver similar actuator strokes as commercial materials, but at much lower voltages. These and other new actuator materials, based for example on carbon nanotubes, may find applications under conditions where traditional materials cannot operate, such as high temperatures or low voltages.