In the Terminator 2 movie, the T-1000 robot was made of some liquid metal that could reshape, among other interesting things. According to a chemical engineer at North Carolina State University, there may be some ideas. [Michael Dickey] Gallium, a liquid metal, has been tested, which scientists believe could unlock a new generation of flexible devices.
The most common liquid metal is mercury, of course, and it has uses. However, its toxicity has reduced its use. Gallium toxicity is low and does not evaporate easily. What can you do with it? Watch the video below to see a very simple demonstration of weight lifting with a small – very small – electric charge of liquid metal.
Like most metals, gallium easily transfers heat and electricity but can reshape without the fatigue associated with ordinary metals. For example, imagine that headphones have a liquid metal wire that can be stretched without breaking. [Dickey] Made them. Self-healing is also possible, since the liquid metal wires will flow together – no soldering is required.
Other properties of the material make it useful for sensing distortion. For example, a mesh of liquid metal wires in a glove can help a VR system understand your hand gestures. One downside is that when it comes in contact with air, the material forms a thin oxide layer. However, it also gives Banawat some of the benefits they mentioned in the post.
Of course, this is far from practical today, but it can only be viewing technology. We have seen some flexible boards take advantage of liquid metal compounds to contain gallium so there are some practical applications today. Combined with expanded silicone-like substrates, they can do some pretty amazing things.