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Proceedings Paper

Muscle contraction as a polymer-gel phase transition
Author(s): Gerald H. Pollack
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Paper Abstract

In this paper I argue that the mechanism of muscle contraction is similar to the mechanism of contraction in most artificial muscles. Artificial muscles typically contract by a phase- transition. Muscle is thought to contract by a sliding- filament mechanism in which one set of filaments is driven past another by the action of cyclically rotating cross- bridges -- much like the mechanism of rowing. However, the evidence is equally consistent with a mechanism in which the filaments themselves contract, much like the collapse of polymers during a phase-transition. Muscle contains three principal polymer types, organized neatly within a framework. There is evidence that all three can contract. It appears that the relative contributions of each filament are designed to confer strength, speed and versatility on this natural machine. The principles of natural contraction may be useful in establishing optimal design principles for artificial muscles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 1999
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3669, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, (28 May 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.349711
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald H. Pollack, Univ. of Washington (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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