Torsional artificial muscles made of multiwalled carbon nanotube/niobium nanowire yarns have shown remarkable torsional speed and gravimetric torque. The muscle structure consists of a twisted yarn with half of its length infiltrated with a stimuli-responsive guest material such as paraffin wax. The volumetric expansion of the guest material creates the torsional actuation in the yarn. In the present work, we show that this type of actuation is not unique to wax-infiltrated carbon multiwalled nanotube (MWCNT) or niobium nanowire yarns and that twisted yarn of NiTi alloy fibers also produces fast torsional actuation. By gold-plating half the length of a NiTi twisted yarn and Joule heating it, we achieved a fully reversible torsional actuation of up to 16°/mm with peak torsional speed of 10 500 rpm and gravimetric torque of 8 N·m/kg. These results favorably compare to those of MWCNTs and niobium nanowire yarns.
Keywords: NiTi twisted yarn; fast torsional artificial muscle; nickel titanium; shape-memory alloy; torsional actuators; twisted yarns.