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Proceedings Paper

Muscle contraction and polymer-gel phase transitions
Author(s): Gerald H. Pollack
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Paper Abstract

Artificial muscles typically contrast by a phase-transition. Muscle is thought to contract by a different mechanism - a filament-sliding mechanism in which one set of filaments is driven past another by the action of cyclically rotating cross-bridges. The concept is much like the mechanism of rowing. The evidence, however, is equally consistent with a mechanism in which the filaments themselves contract, much like the condensation of polymers during a phase-transition. Muscle contains three principal polymer types organized neatly into a characteristic framework All three polymers can shorten. The contributions of each filament may be designed to confer versatility, as well as sped and strength, on this biological machine. The principles of natural contraction may be useful in establishing optimal design principles for artificial muscles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 June 2000
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3987, Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (7 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.387782
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald H. Pollack, Univ. of Washington (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3987:
Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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