Chinese scientists have created stable drops of liquid metal, which in the future will be the basis for new type robots, reminiscent of the liquid Terminator from the same movie James Cameron. This is reported by the publication ScienceAlert.
Liquid metal has the potential for application in the field of electronics and “soft” robotics (creating robots with non-rigid construction). Usually it is obtained by fusing gallium, tin and indium, but a thin layer of oxides is formed on the surface of the droplets, making the material sticky and unfit for use.
To get around this problem, the researchers developed a method for creating droplets, allowing them to change their properties. To do this, they immersed pieces of liquid metal in a solution of sodium hydroxide for three seconds to give them a spherical shape. After that they were treated with polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon), during which the particles of the latter covered the outer layer of droplets.
As a result, scientists received elastic balls of metal that do not adhere to the surface. The new properties allowed the droplets to freely roll under a gradient of two degrees and bounce off when struck.
In the future, researchers plan to force the material to react to external stimuli, changing its shape.