Apologizes for being gone, I was recently on vacation. Anyways, I spent some time reading more white papers and studying what they have going at HBS Labs including their video on producing Silver Plated TCP.
I recreated their results and was amazed to see that their "2-Ply" or 'helix' muscles combine aspects of the hydrocordial and regular actuators by allowing them to contract against and up the second muscle material they are paired with. This led to a great increase in contraction distance for very little strength loss. I will try to get some hard numbers soon.
Finally I want to go over my longer term strategy, which differs from where many other scientists are moving with TCP. Other scientists are using the resistance of thin conductive wire like silver or copper. But since I am using Nichrome the resistance comes from the material and thus wider material means more heat. Thus instead of scaling down I have plans to scale up! Above with the green background are two pieces of 100lb test fishing line. The top most using 30 gauge nichrome and was yielding 18% contractions with a half duty cycle of 4 seconds. The bottom was similar but much slower to contract for a fraction less distance. This leads me to believe that if I increase the thickness of nylon and nichrome then I will see an increase in efficiency. I do not have have the full numbers for this either yet. But I will work them out soon.
Thanks for all the support!