Reconfigurable material could be used for liquid electronics and chemical synthesis, among other applications
Scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to print 3-D structures composed entirely of liquids. Using a modified 3-D printer, they injected threads of water into silicone oil — sculpting tubes made of one liquid within another liquid.
They envision their all-liquid material could be used to construct liquid electronics that power flexible, stretchable devices. The scientists also foresee chemically tuning the tubes and flowing molecules through them, leading to new ways to separate molecules or precisely deliver nanoscale building blocks to under-construction compounds.
The researchers have printed threads of water between 10 microns and 1 millimeter in diameter, and in a variety of spiraling and branching shapes up to several meters in length. What’s more, the material can conform to its surroundings and repeatedly change shape.
“It’s a new class of material that can reconfigure itself, and it has the potential to be customized into liquid reaction vessels for many uses, from chemical synthesis to ion transport to catalysis,” said Tom Russell, a visiting faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division. He developed the material with Joe Forth, a postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Sciences Division, as well as other scientists from Berkeley Lab and several other institutions. They report their research March 24 in the journal Advanced Materials.
The material owes its origins to two advances: learning how to create liquid tubes inside another liquid, and then automating the process.
For the first step, the scientists developed a way to sheathe tubes of water in a special nanoparticle-derived surfactant that locks the water in place. The surfactant, essentially soap, prevents the tubes from breaking up into droplets. Their surfactant is so good at its job, the scientists call it a nanoparticle supersoap.
The supersoap was achieved by dispersing gold nanoparticles into water and polymer ligands into oil. The gold nanoparticles and polymer ligands want to attach to each other, but they also want to remain in their respective water and oil mediums. The ligands were developed with help from Brett Helms at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at Berkeley Lab.
In practice, soon after the water is injected into the oil, dozens of ligands in the oil attach to individual nanoparticles in the water, forming a nanoparticle supersoap. These supersoaps jam together and vitrify, like glass, which stabilizes the interface between oil and water and locks the liquid structures in position.
“This stability means we can stretch water into a tube, and it remains a tube. Or we can shape water into an ellipsoid, and it remains an ellipsoid,” said Russell. “We’ve used these nanoparticle supersoaps to print tubes of water that last for several months.”
Next came automation. Forth modified an off-the-shelf 3-D printer by removing the components designed to print plastic and replacing them with a syringe pump and needle that extrudes liquid. He then programmed the printer to insert the needle into the oil substrate and inject water in a predetermined pattern.
“We can squeeze liquid from a needle, and place threads of water anywhere we want in three dimensions,” said Forth. “We can also ping the material with an external force, which momentarily breaks the supersoap’s stability and changes the shape of the water threads. The structures are endlessly reconfigurable.”
The Latest on: All-Liquid 3-D Structures
via Google News
The Latest on: All-Liquid 3-D Structures
- Raft of new resource laws will have 'gargantuan impact' on Alberta, Notley says on April 10, 2019 at 5:01 am
“It would definitely have a significant impact on the cost structure,” said Masterson ... The Clean Fuel Standard would come into effect for all liquid fuels, including gasoline and diesel ... […]
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Researchers Use Liquid-in-Liquid Printing to Create 3D Fluidic Devices on March 14, 2019 at 12:37 pm
Their findings are discussed in a recently published paper, ‘Harnessing liquid-in-liquid printing and micropatterned substrates to fabricate 3-dimensional all-liquid fluidic devices ... In harnessing ... […]
- Scientists 'squeeze' nanocrystals in a liquid droplet into a solid-like state – and back again on August 8, 2018 at 1:13 pm
The latest study builds on earlier research by Russell and Helms, visiting researchers, and others in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and at the Molecular Foundry to sculpt complex, ... […]
- This 3D-printed smart gel can help build devices that mimic sea creatures on May 22, 2018 at 3:21 am
Several researchers have been experimenting with liquid materials in the 3-D printing process. Last month, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory partnered with the US Department of ... […]
- Nanoscale "supersoap" allows liquid 3D structures to be printed within other liquids on March 30, 2018 at 11:18 pm
Because of a special nanoscale coating, the water structures survive without breaking down into droplets even as the encapsulating fluid changes shape. This new form of 3D printing could give rise to ... […]
- Researchers 3D Print All-Liquid Objects on March 30, 2018 at 11:06 am
A team of researchers from the United States and China has found a way to print 3D structures composed entirely of liquids. The team’s all-liquid material could be used to construct liquid electronics ... […]
- Mesmerizing 'Self-Healing' Liquid Sculptures Hold Their Shape: How It Works on March 29, 2018 at 10:02 am
A mesmerizing new video shows scientists crafting dazzling, slinky-like sculptures made completely out of liquid — and the liquid structures can hold their ... "We could make all-liquid circuits. That ... […]
- Scientists print all-liquid 3-D structures on March 28, 2018 at 10:22 am
Scientists have developed a way to print 3-D structures composed entirely of liquids. Using a modified 3-D printer, they injected threads of water into silicone oil -- sculpting tubes made of one ... […]
- Scientists Print All-Liquid 3-D Structures (video) on March 28, 2018 at 10:09 am
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a way to print 3-D structures composed entirely of liquids. Using a modified 3-D printer, they injected threads of water into silicone oil -- sculpting tubes ... […]
via Bing News