SELF-POWERED LIQUID METAL MOTOR CAN SHAPE SHIFT

Tsinghua University
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Chinese Researchers Create Fascinating Shape Changing Device

The shape-shifting liquid metal robot T-1000 captured all our imaginations the first time Terminator 2 was shown in cinemas, the actor Robert Patrick still has a cult following because of it. While not as eye-poppingly awesome as T-1000, researchers at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, China have created a self-powered liquid metal motor with shape-shifting characteristics. The device consists of a drop of metal alloy predominantly made of gallium with an added mix of indium and tin. When added to sodium hydroxide or brine, with a wafer of aluminum for fuel, the device can move about for almost an hour. The metal alloy also has the ability to travel in a straight line, squeeze through tubes and other complex shapes. Additionally, researcher Jing Liu showed that if the “self-powered motor is held still, it too becomes a pump, shifting about 50 millilitres of water every second.”

SELF-POWERED LIQUID METAL MOTOR CAN SHAPE SHIFT