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Why Liquid Metal Floats On Water Considered Underrated?

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Liquid Metal

A molten metal consists of alloys with the shallow melting points, which form a eutectic that is liquid generally at room temperature. The standard metal used to be mercury, but gallium-based alloys, which are lower both in their vapor pressure at room temperature. And toxicity is being used as a replacement in various applications of it.

A liquid metal alloy less dense than water has made by injecting the material with glass beads. It could also use to create lightweight exoskeletons or transformable robots. Sodium, potassium, and lithium are metals that can float on water because they are less dense than pure water. Like mercury, which has the lowest melting point of pure metals at -38.8°C. Because liquid metal alloys do not solidify at room temperature.

Terminator 2

Liquid metal that floats on water could make transformable robots. Because liquid metals could make underwater devices, transforming robots as well as lightweight exoskeletons. The shape-shifting robots from Terminator 2 may be in for a reboot on the high seas. They are also eutectic, meaning that they melt at a lower temperature than the individual melting points.

A team of researchers at Tsinghua University in China has created a liquid metal material that is so light; it can easily float on the water. The researchers are also hoping that the extremely light weighted material. This material could be used to construct lightweight exoskeletons and shape-shifting “Terminator 2“-style robots, in New Scientist reports.

Microscopic Beads of Glass

The researchers created a mixture of the soft metal’s gallium and indium, which had a melting point of just 15.7 Celsius (60.3 Fahrenheit). To make it float, the team gently stirred microscopic beads of glass, filled with air, into the liquid.

In the process, oxygen combined with the liquid metal, helping the tiny beads stay suspended. It is according to Tsinghua University’s Jing Liu, lead author of a paper about the project published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials last month.

Shape-Shifting Quality

Despite its extremely low density, the liquid metal material “still maintains the excellent conformability, electric conductivity, and stiffness variety under temperature regulation,” according to the paper.

The material is hard enough to be reused “eight times without the evident loss in function” by folding it like origami or forcing it into shape. The researchers are hoping their futuristic material could be used “for making diverse advanced soft robotics and underwater devices shortly,” the paper reads.

 


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