Beijing: Scientists in China have developed a self-powered liquid metal machine that can change form like the shape-shifting T-1000 robot in the Terminator 2 movie.
Researchers from the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the medical school of Tsinghua University found a liquid metal that can “eat” substances and then propel itself like a self-fueled motor.
The finding, which may pave the way for the development of a liquid metal robot, was published in the Advanced Materials journal.
Scientists found that if the machines “ate” a small piece of aluminum, a liquid metal ball formed with a diameter of 5 millimeters.
This could move spontaneously in various solutions and structured channels for more than an hour at a speed of 5 centimeters per second, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
“The biomimetic mollusk is highly self-adaptive and closely conforms to the geometrical space it is in,” the scientists wrote.
The power of the liquid metal motor comes from the endogenous electric field of liquid alloys and metal “food,” and the hydrogen generated by the electrochemical reactions.
Based on the theory, researchers have developed several liquid metal machines that can move in alkalescent, acidic or neutral electrolytes.
“Such liquid metal transformers and locomotors could provide on-demand use given specific designs,” according to the researchers’ paper.
The development of advanced shape-shifting flexible intelligent machines is a dream shared by scientists and engineers.
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