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
- Fate of heavy metals from land-applied poultry litter studiedon August 7, 2020 at 8:58 am
Auburn research to quantify loss of metals in agricultural fields fertilized with poultry litter, recommend management practices.
- SMM Evening Comments (Aug 6): Shanghai nonferrous metals rose for the most part while ferrous metals declined across the boardon August 7, 2020 at 5:09 am
SHFE nonferrous metals, except for copper, cruised higher on Friday August 7, but ferrous metals all declined. Lead remained the best performer, surging 1.33%. Aluminum edged 0.07% higher, zinc added ...
- SMM Morning Comments (Aug 7): Shanghai base metals rose for the most part, lead surged nearly 2.5%on August 6, 2020 at 7:22 pm
Nonferrous metals on the SHFE mostly increased on Friday morning, holding onto overnight gains, and lead surged nearly 2.5% as of 10:00 Beijing time. Mea ...
- Metal 3D Printer Market 2020 Share, Size, by Global Major Companies Profile, Competitive Landscape and Key Regions 2026 Research Reports Worldon August 6, 2020 at 4:04 pm
Global "Metal 3D Printer Market" (2020-2026) status and position of worldwide and key regions, with perspectives ...
- Exploring Elusive Chemistry at the Liquid-Liquid Interfaceon August 6, 2020 at 6:40 am
The study investigates the fundamental chemistry underlying solvent extraction, a method of separating elements using two liquids that do not dissolve into one another, namely oil and water. When ...
- This odd flying metal cylinder is a prototype for Elon Musk’s Mars rocketon August 5, 2020 at 4:48 pm
Watch SpaceX’s Starship SN5 perform a hop test in Boca Chica, Texas. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says it will one day transport humans to Mars.SpaceX launched an experimental rocket prototype on a “hop test” ...
- Finding Toxic Carcinogenic Metals Faster in Food and Wateron August 4, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Finding out if the food and water we consume are safe from toxic and carcinogenic metals can now be much faster and simpler. Researchers at the University Johannesburg developed an efficient and more ...
- The New ASUS ROG STRIX gaming Notebooks with Liquid Metal Cooling Comes to Malaysia!on July 28, 2020 at 4:23 am
ASUS just launched their new ROG STRIX gaming notebook with Intel's 10th generation Core procesor and liquid metal cooling.
- Controlling streams of liquid metal at room temperatureon July 27, 2020 at 12:21 pm
Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated a technique that allows them to produce streams of liquid metal at room temperature. By applying a low voltage to the liquid metal, ...
- Mysterious meteorites came from an asteroid with a liquid metal coreon July 27, 2020 at 1:32 am
Most meteorites that fall to Earth belong to one of two broad groups – there are rocky ones, and there are metallic ones that were once molten iron. But one puzzling group of meteorites appears to ...
via Bing News