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Proceedings Paper

Skeletal muscle is a biological example of a linear electroactive actuator
Author(s): Richard L. Lieber
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Paper Abstract

Skeletal muscle represents a classic biological example of a structure-function relationship. This paper reviews basic muscle anatomy and demonstrates how molecular motion on the order of nm distances is converted into the macroscopic movements that are possible with skeletal muscle. Muscle anatomy provides a structural basis for understanding the basic mechanical properties of skeletal muscle -- namely, the length-tension relationship and the force-velocity relationships. The length-tension relationship illustrates that muscle force generation is extremely length dependent due to the interdigitation of the contractile filaments. The force-velocity relationship is characterized by a rapid force drop in muscle with increasing shortening velocity and a rapid rise in force when muscles are forced to lengthen. Finally, muscle architecture -- the number and arrangement of muscle fibers -- has a profound effect on the magnitude of muscle force generated and the magnitude of muscle excursion. These concepts demonstrate the elegant manner in which muscle acts as a biologically regenerating linear motor. These concepts can be used in developing artificial muscles as well as in performing surgical reconstructive procedures with various donor muscles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 1999
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3669, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, (28 May 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.349688
Show Author Affiliations
Richard L. Lieber, Univ. of California/San Diego and Veteran's Affairs Medical Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3669:
Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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