New materials for robots

New materials for robots


This reminds me of something, that we're trying to recreate all the dystopian futures in science fiction at the same time, so we're trying to create robots out of liquid metal, which could go wrong.

Humans like to make robots and on the scale from Wally to Terminator I estimate that we are about halfway to the uprising of the machines thanks mainly to Boston dynamics, whose publications began to worry me for many years now and now we have liquid metal robots.

A group of researchers published in the scientific journal Matter their study and proof of concept to use a compound based on liquid metal that is capable of changing phase, that is, from solid to liquid and back to solid, to be used in places where it cannot be accessed with a tool that is only solid, basically a T-1000 but small and harmless.

It is a tiny robot, only 7 millimeters tall, it has an amazing quality of melting its solid metal body to escape from a small cage in a liquid state and then returning to its solid state outside its cage.

They call it active Magneto phase transition matter, the metal they chose for the study is gallium, which is solid below 30 degrees Celsius, but if it goes over 30 degrees it becomes liquid, gallium is a metal that does not present magnetism, that is, if you pass a magnet over it, it does not stick, although it does have a little bit of magnetism, but only in very specific and very weak situations, so they are useful for study as well.

To resolve the above, they add magnetism to the gallium by mixing it with neodymium, iron and boron microparticles that are ferromagnetic and thus can control their phase state when they need it to be solid or liquid.

And to convert it from solid to liquid they make a magnetic field near it alternate its polarity rapidly, this stirs the atoms of the microparticles and creates heat, when this heat exceeds 30 degrees Celsius the little robot melts and behaves like a liquid and to return to its solid state they only have to turn off the magnetic field and as memory material it transforms again into a solid robot.


Through the orientation of the magnetic field, they can move or rotate it to do their job, they can also transform their shape and adapt to certain needs.

Some examples of the application of this stuff were shown, one example being that it can be split and transformed into two pieces that work as a team to Rotate an object and then are heated to merge into one again.


Also two pieces of this material can charge a led to its place on a circuit board and then melt and become the solder that connects to the led and a third arrives to close the circuit.

Either way, this is just a proof of concept, we're not going to have robots helping us anytime soon, but it definitely opens up the possibility that at some point they'll become amazing tools that help us in ways we're yet to discover.

Study Source

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