Some still remember the shiver felt when they saw the shape-shifting T-1000 robot in the classic blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The possibility that such a liquid metal could exist at some point in the future was pretty scary.
A team of researchers has managed to create a similar type of liquid metal, which can stretch horizontally and vertically, while also changing its shape in the process.
The study also shows how select liquid metals can be manipulated with the help of powerful magnets. A sample, identified as a magnetic liquid metal droplet ( also known as MLMD), can be stretched horizontally as it follows the magnet and rises from a pool filled with solution.
The scientists created a liquid metal that is controllable and can change its shape like in Terminator 2 movie
In the past, the researchers observed that some metals which remain liquid at room temperatures could be stretched horizontally with the help of high surface tensions, but they have to be immersed in water. The researchers decided to add iron and nickel to the solution, an act which decreased the surface tension. A similar result was observed when tin alloy immersed in hydrochloric acid was also tested.
The resulting mixture could be stretched up to almost four times its resting length, while also responding to magnets. Other tests showed that the liquid metal features a conductivity trait, which means that if electrodes were added it could be used to power a LED bulb. Magnetic liquid metal droplet could lead to exciting applications as the researchers believe that it could be used in the development of advanced devices, including dynamically reconfigurable robots.
It is unlikely that it will be used in the creation of military robots like the T-1000 since the costs to manufacture it at a large scale would be quite high, even if scientists discovered a method which allowed the metal to remain liquid and malleable at all times. Still, regenerative armor that could fill the holes left by enemy weapons would be very useful across all the currently active combat zones.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.