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Chin. Phys. B, 2020, Vol. 29(11): 118103    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/abbbda

Twisted and coiled bamboo artificial muscles for moisture responsive torsional and tensile actuation

Xiaoyu Hu(胡晓宇), Xueqi Leng(冷雪琪), Tianjiao Jia(贾天娇), and Zunfeng Liu(刘遵峰)
State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, College of Pharmacy and Chemistry, Key Laboratory of Functional Polymer Materials, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China

Smart textiles responding to the ambient environment like temperature, humidity, and light are highly desirable to improve the comfortability and realize multifunctions. The bamboo yarn has merits like air permeability, biodegradability, and excellent heat dissipation performance, but it has not been prepared for responsive materials and smart textiles. In this paper, the moisture-responsive twisted bamboo yarns were plied to form a self-balanced torsional actuator and wrapped around a mandrel to form a coil, followed by water immersion and evaporation to fix the shape and serve as a tensile actuator. A torsional actuation of 64.4°⋅ mm−1 was realized for the twisted actuator in 4.2 s; a maximum elongation of 133% or contraction of 50% was achieved for a coiled tensile actuator with good cyclability. The porous structure of bamboo yarns helped improve the water absorbance speed and decrease the response time of moisture. The self-balanced two-ply physical structure and reversible generation of chemical phase after soaking in aqueous solution fixed internal stress and provided good cyclability. With the unique properties including aqueous water-induced shape fixation and moisture-induced actuation, the application of tensile actuation of bamboo yarns was demonstrated, showing promising prospects on smart textiles.

Keywords:  smart textile      bamboo yarn      moisture-responsive      twist  
Received:  28 August 2020      Revised:  10 September 2020      Accepted manuscript online:  28 September 2020
Fund: the State Key Development Program for Basic Research of China (Grant Nos. 2016YFA0200200 and 2017YFB0307001), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51973093, U1533122, and 51773094), and the Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin, China (Grant No. 18JCZDJC36800).
Corresponding Authors:  Corresponding author. E-mail:   

Cite this article: 

Xiaoyu Hu(胡晓宇), Xueqi Leng(冷雪琪), Tianjiao Jia(贾天娇), and Zunfeng Liu(刘遵峰) Twisted and coiled bamboo artificial muscles for moisture responsive torsional and tensile actuation 2020 Chin. Phys. B 29 118103

Fig. 1.  

Structure and mechanical properties for bamboo yarns. (a) SEM images with low (left) and high (right) magnifications showing the cross-sectional monofilaments and porous structure in the micron- and nanometer scale. (b) SEM images of the pristine monofilament (upper), twisted yarn (middle), and two-plied bamboo yarn (lower). (c) Tensile stress–strain curves of bamboo yarns with different twist densities. The elongation rate was 25%⋅ min−1. (d) Elongation at break and fracture strength as a function of twist density for non-plied bamboo yarns. (e) Mesopores of silk, bamboo, and cotton yarns, with surface area calculated by the BET method and pore volume calculated by the adsorption curve of N2 gas. (f) Kinetics of water absorption and desorption of the bamboo yarn.

Fig. 2.  

Fabrication and actuation performance of self-balanced two-ply torsional bamboo muscles. (a) Schematic illustrations of the fabrication of two-ply torsional bamboo muscles. (b) The torsional stroke as a function of time during the first 5 cycles. (c) The torsional stroke and rotation speed as a function of inserted twist. (d) The effect of actuation stress on the torsional actuation performance. For panels (b) and (c), the actuation stress was 2.01 MPa, and for panels (b) and (d), the twist density was 800 turns⋅m−1.

Fig. 3.  

Fabrication and actuation performances of mandrel coiled bamboo muscles for tensile actuation. (a) Schematic illustrations for the preparation of the tensile muscles. (b) The tensile stroke as a function of the number of actuation cycles for ZZ- and ZS-type muscles. (c) The tensile stroke for muscles with different twist densities and actuated at various humidities. (d) Work capacity as a function of applied stress for muscles with varied spring index. (e) Tensile strain normalized by loaded length for ZZ-type muscles. If not otherwise specified, the twist density was 900 turns⋅m−1, the spring index was 4.3, the relative humidity was 90%, and the applied stress was 0.33 kPa for panels (b)–(e).

Fig. 4.  

Tensile actuation normalized by the non-loaded bamboo muscle length. (a) Tensile strains for muscles with different C that actuated in ambient humidity from 50%–90%. (b) Tensile strains as a function of coil pitch. (c) Cyclability of the tensile stroke for ZS- and ZZ-type muscles. (d) The non-loaded length normalized tensile strain as a function of applied stress for ZZ muscles with varied spring index. If not otherwise specified, the twist density was 900 turns⋅m−1, the spring index was 4.3, the relative humidity was 70%, and the applied stress was 0.33 kPa for panels (a)–(d).

Fig. 5.  

The mechanism for shape fixing and actuation of mandrel coiled bamboo muscle. (a) X-ray diffraction curves for twisted muscles without treatments, followed by immersion in water, after shape fixing by drying out, and after multiple cycles of actuation. (b) The peak fitting profile for pristine bamboo fibers. (c) Crystallinity and the ratio of cellulose II to cellulose I for bamboo fibers with various treatment conditions. (d) Schematic illustration for the proposed mechanism of shape fixing and actuation for mandrel-coiled bamboo fibers.

Fig. 6.  

Demonstration of the ZZ mandrel coiled bamboo fibers for intelligent smart skirts under moisture activation, with photos (a) before actuation, (b) during actuation, and (c) after actuation.

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