Artificial Muscles made from Fishing Line

An international team led by The University of Texas at Dallas has made the astonishing discovery that ordinary fishing line and sewing thread can be cheaply converted to powerful artificial muscles. This might possibly be an interesting alternative to memory metall (NiTi) based micro actuators.

The new muscles can lift 100 times more weight and generate 100 times higher mechanical power than a human muscle of the same length and weight. They can generate astonishing 7.1 horsepower per kilogram.

In a paper published in Science, the researchers explain that the powerful muscles are produced by twisting and coiling high-strength polymer fishing line and sewing thread. Scientists at UT Dallas’ Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute teamed with scientists from universities in Australia, South Korea, Canada, Turkey and China to accomplish the advances.

The muscles are powered thermally by temperature changes, which can be produced electrically, by the absorption of light or by the chemical reaction of fuels.


Silverplated Nylon using the silver as heating element and water for rapid passive cooling.