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3D Printed Gallium Alloy Can Create Soft Robots
Mar 07, 2018

Engineers at Oregon state university have found a way to create a highly complex structure with a 3D printed high conductivity gallium alloy.The 3D printing process can be used to make flexible computer screens and other retractable electronic devices, including flexible robots.


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Gallium alloys, which are usually of low toxicity and good conductivity, have been used as conducting materials in many flexible electronic devices.They are also cheap and "self-healing", meaning they can be reconnected at breakpoints.However, until now, these gallium alloys have not been printed in 3D, limiting their use in specific applications.

At Oregon state university exciting new 3 d printing technology development, which can be alloy for other applications, including the use of the known as ultrasonic process, the process of the use of sound energy mix nickel particles and gallium oxide into 3 d printable metal.Engineers have discovered that the alloy can be printed in 3D as high as 10 mm and 20 mm wide.


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Without nickel, gallium would become too thin to print.But in a nickel mixed with ultrasound, the mixture becomes mushy and easy to print in 3D.In addition, the electrical properties of the paste are comparable to that of pure liquid metal, and the paste retains its self-healing properties.

"Liquid alloys can't be built into tall structures," explains Yi. ItMenguc, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and co-author of the study."With this kind of cream, it can be layered at the same time that it keeps its flow, and it stretches inside the rubber tube."

To demonstrate the power of their new gallium 3D printing technology, the researchers printed a "very resilient" double-layer circuit that interwoven without touching each other.Other future applications may include conductive textiles, flexible displays, strain sensors, wearable sensor suits, antennas and biomedical sensors.

"The future is very bright," says co-author do.anyirmibe. O.l. u, a doctor of robotics.Oregon state university student."It's easy to imagine a flexible robot that can be manipulated so that you can get out of the printer."

"Advanced Materials Technologies" published a study on the rheological modification of the liquid metal used in the manufacture of stretched electronic Materials.