After the dancing wires, I began thinking that perhaps I should do a little more experimentation with this technology. The video below shows the end result of my testing. The wire, it turns out, extends when heated, and shrinks, even though it's under load, when cooled. Overall, I achieved a result of 1-2% Strain, meaning that the wire extends to 101-102% of its original length when a current is run through it.
The wire itself is Nichrome, and the setup includes a stand, which holds a BNC-to-banana (female) connector, which anchors the two halves of the heating wire. The mass is a spare part made of aluminum, of approximately 1-1.5 kg, and the wire is being fed current from a temperature controller set for 30 °C, which is connected via a relay to a transformer, sending 12 VAC to the wire. The temperature controller is interfaced to the wire via a K-type thermocouple wrapped under the wire at the top of the setup.