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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

CBES research on artificial muscles featured in EFRC newsletter

Recent work from the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES) was featured prominently in the Energy Frontier Research Centers' Summer 2019 newsletter. The research, published in Nature Communications, describes a special class of polymer chains that expand or contract based on water temperature.

The polymer strands reinforce the nanofiber gel produced by CBES Director Samuel Stupp and his collaborators, serving as flexible crosslinks to complete an artificial muscle that mimics a brush. The nanofibers serve as the body of the brush, and the polymer strands resemble bristles.

When immersed in warm water, the bristles shrink — causing the gel to contract. When the water temperature drops, the material expands.

Synthesizing artificial muscles is one of CBES’ five established research areas. Read about those research areas and view the EFRC’s newsletter.