Jump to content
The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks
Canucks Community

Liquid Metal Drop Shapeshifts Like a 'Terminator' Bot


Recommended Posts

Liquid Metal Drop Shapeshifts Like a 'Terminator' Bot


When I think of any kind of liquid metal form changing shape and moving around on its own accord, I can’t help but conjure up images of the T-1000 robot assassin from the movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Now scientists have made a little drop of metal that’s able to propel itself through liquid and change shape to fit through a narrow passage.

Although this little drop of liquid metal is no shapeshifting Nanomorph, it does have some fascinating properties that could one day be used to develop new methods for delivering drugs through blood vessels.

To make the liquid metal drop, scientists from Tsinghua University in China mixed together gallium, indium and tin. Next, they attached a tiny bit of aluminum to the drop. When dropped into a container of sodium hydroxide — or even salt water — the aluminum created a chemical reaction with the solution that produced tiny bubbles, which propelled the drop.

The propulsion was enhanced by a natural imbalance of electric charges occurring between the front and back of the drop. As long as the aluminum bit was on the back end of the drop, it moved forward.

The scientists placed the drop into a container with channels and the drop followed the pre-designated path. If the path narrowed, the drop was able to adjust its shape and squeeze through.

These experiments build on previous work from this team, which is interested in developing soft robots that can change shape and move on their own. Is it an emotionless cyborg possessing a superior command of martial arts skills? Only time will tell.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...