Scientists in China have just created a stretchy liquid metal, similar to that of the T1000 robot in the “Terminator” franchise.
On Wednesday, the American Chemical Society released a video showcasing the newly created magnetic liquid-like metal that can stretch or morph through three-dimensional space using magnets, according to ACS.
In the report, gallium and other certain alloys, which are metals that liquidate at room temperatures, have unique properties that includes high deformability, high conductivity, and low melting point.
But to manipulate the liquid, scientists add magnetic particles into it such as nickel or iron; however, most magnetic liquid metals can only be moved horizontally because of the high surface tension. It was further stated that they must be immersed completely in liquid to avoid forming a paste.
Scientists Liang Hu, Jing Liu and their colleagues, however, wanted to make a magnetic liquid metal that can be stretched in both horizontally and vertically without ever needing to immerse the material in liquid.
In order to do this, scientists in the project added iron particles to a droplet of gallium, indium and tin alloy that is immersed in hydrochloric acid. Doing this, a gallium oxide layer formed on the surface of the droplet that 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,” the report said. “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.”
What’s even remarkable is that this liquid metal can be stretched not only horizontally, but vertically as well. In the clip, the liquid metal is stretched horizontally to connect two electrodes where one is exposed to air while the below one is dipped in hydrochloric acid.
“This demonstrated that the material didn’t have to be fully immersed in liquid,” the report noted. “In this way, the magnetic liquid metal was reminiscent of an upright walking amphibian.”