If you thought that the shape-shifting T-1000 robot in “Terminator 2: judgment Day” was the nightmare, your nightmares can finally become a reality.
Researchers have developed a ‘Terminator-like liquid metal that has the ability to stretch horizontally and vertically, as well as evolving forms, according to a new study.
The research, published in Applied Materials & Interfaces, highlights how the liquid metals such as gallium, when it is mixed with nickel or iron, can actually be manipulated in different forms, with the use of magnets.
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“In addition, the vertically stretched MLMD (magnetic liquid metal droplet) can move horizontally with half his body in the solution, and the other half in the air, resembling the nature of an upright-walking reptiles and amphibians,” the researchers wrote in the study abstract.
(Credit: American Chemical Society)
This is not the first time that researchers have made of a ductile metal. In earlier attempts, certain metals that are liquid at room temperature, including the aforementioned gallium and other alloys, could only be stretched horizontally, due to the high surface tensions. They also need to be immersed in water to prevent the formation of a paste.
But the researchers, including the study’s lead author, Liang Hu, added the iron and nickel, tin alloy immersed in hydrochloric acid, to the solution, which lowered the surface tension.
From there, they were able to drop to almost four times the resting length and manipulate it using magnets.
The researchers also said that the liquid metal showed conductivity and with the connection of two electrodes, light from an LED lamp.
While a shape-shifting robot like the T-1000 is not likely to happen any time soon, the researchers pointed to the possibilities for future applications, such as robots.
“MLMD presents a fundamental and promising platform for the liquid metal to the further development of the multi-freedom operation in the free space and eventually lead to the dynamically reconfigurable intelligent and biomimetic soft robots in the future,” the researchers wrote.
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