In the blockbuster Terminator movie franchise, an evil robot morphs into different human forms and objects and oozes through narrow openings, thanks to its “liquid-metal” composition. Although current robots don’t have these capabilities, the technology is getting closer with the development of new liquid metals that can be manipulated in 3D space with magnets.
Reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the materials could someday find applications in soft robotics.
Metals that are liquids at room temperature, such as gallium and certain alloys, have unique properties including high conductivity, low melting point and high deformability. These properties make them attractive for use in soft robots and flexible electronics. By adding magnetic particles, such as nickel or iron, researchers can produce liquid metals that they can manipulate with magnets. However, because of their high surface tension, most magnetic liquid metals can only move horizontally, and they must be immersed completely in liquid to avoid forming a paste. Liang Hu, Jing Liu and colleagues wanted to make a magnetic liquid metal that they could move and stretch both horizontally and vertically, without needing to put the material completely in a liquid.
To do so, the researchers first worked with the material submersed in liquid. They added iron particles to a droplet of a gallium, indium and tin alloy immersed in hydrochloric acid. A gallium oxide layer formed on the droplet surface, which lowered the surface tension of the liquid metal. When the team applied two magnets in opposite directions, they could stretch the droplet to almost four times its resting length. They could also manipulate the liquid metal to connect two immersed, horizontal electrodes and, by virtue of its conductive properties, light up an LED bulb. The liquid metal could even stretch vertically and then move horizontally to connect two electrodes –– the upper one exposed to air, and the lower one in the hydrochloric acid. This demonstrated that the material didn’t have to be fully immersed in liquid. In this way, the magnetic liquid metal was reminiscent of an upright walking amphibian, the researchers say.
In the present study, a magnetic liquid metal droplet (MLMD), which can be stretched in large scales both horizontally and vertically in the free space, is introduced. This MLMD is fabricated based on a multimaterial system including liquid metals, iron particles, and electrolytes. Such remarkable stretching capacity is reversible, long-lasting, and can be repeated for multiple times. The seemingly contrary properties, the good stretchability and the mechanic strength for three-dimensional (3D) stretch, should owe to the surface oxide over the MLMD. On the basis of the 3D stretching ability of the MLMD, an intelligent scalable conductor was achieved, which can make electrical connections at various directions in the 3D free space. Moreover, the vertically stretched MLMD can move horizontally with its half body in the solution and the other half in the air, which resembles the nature of an upright walking amphibian.
All the behaviors can be precisely, conveniently, and contactlessly controlled by the magnetic field provided by permanent magnets. With all the appealing properties, this MLMD presents a fundamental and promising platform for the liquid metals to further develop the multi-freedom actuation in free space and eventually lead to the dynamically reconfigurable intelligent and biomimetic soft robots in the future.
The Latest on: Liquid metals
via Google News
The Latest on: Liquid metals
- PhaseOne Drops Groundbreaking Metal + Bass Hybrid Album, “Transcendency” on April 17, 2019 at 11:36 am
Liquid Stranger, or LSDREAM releasing full-on bass albums in 2019. (Feed Me’s album High Street Creeps falls in a gray area.) Between the hair-raising riddim anthems and the absolutely wild metal ... […]
- Scientists improve sensitivity and stretchability of room-temperature liquid metal-based sensor on April 17, 2019 at 6:36 am
Scientists have developed a room-temperature, liquid metal-based, super-stretchable sensor with the advantages of easy fabrication, low cost, high repeatability and a gauge factor as great as 4.95. […]
- Global Metal Coating Market With Thriving CAGR in Forecast Period 2019 to 2026 on April 17, 2019 at 3:35 am
This report studies the global Metal Coating market status and forecast ... this report covers United States Europe China Japan Southeast Asia India Segment by Type Liquid Coating Powder Coating ... […]
- Liquid Technology’s Earth Day Event Facilitates Positive, Environmentally Friendly ITAD For a Fourth Consecutive Year on April 16, 2019 at 5:35 am
In a recent whitepaper, Liquid Technology reports that Americans alone throw away 9.4 million tons of electronics every year. The dangerous metals and toxic chemicals contained in this e-waste are ... […]
- Microchannel Structural Design For a Room-Temperature Liquid Metal Based Super-stretchable Sensor on April 11, 2019 at 2:33 am
Room-temperature liquid metal has been widely used in flexible and stretchable sensors, focusing on embedding liquid metal in microchannels, liquid metal microdroplets formation, captive sensors, and ... […]
- Ferrovolcanism: Liquid Iron-Spewing Volcanoes Erupted on Metallic Asteroids, Scientists Say on April 9, 2019 at 11:31 am
University of California Santa Cruz planetary researchers Jacob Abrahams and Professor Francis Nimmo think that as the metal cooled and solidified, volcanoes spewing liquid iron could have erupted ... […]
- Scientists discover some elements can be a solid and a liquid at the same time on April 9, 2019 at 8:28 am
While potassium atoms, like most metals, behave in an orderly way under ordinary circumstances ... where one of the two lattices -- the "guest" part -- dissolved into liquid, while the "host" part ... […]
- Iron Volcanoes on Some Asteroids May Have Ejected Molten Metal on April 9, 2019 at 8:06 am
But now, two separate research teams modeling that cooling process have concluded that if the solidification process were to begin toward the outside of the asteroid, some of these bodies may have ... […]
- Iron volcanoes may have erupted on metal asteroids on April 9, 2019 at 6:47 am
As if that’s not strange enough, scientists now think that as the metal cooled and solidified, volcanoes spewing liquid iron could have erupted through a solid iron crust onto the surface of the ... […]
- Metal Asteroids With Iron Volcanoes May Have Existed When Our Solar System Was First Forming on April 9, 2019 at 2:25 am
The team found that as the metal cooled and solidified, volcanoes spewing out liquid iron could have emerged from beneath a solid crust. “Metallic asteroids are expected to have been exposed while ... […]
via Bing News