Surely, while watching the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, almost every spectator was fascinated by the cyborg T-1000 from liquid metal. At the moment, the creation of such a robot, of course, is impossible, but scientists are slowly moving towards this goal.For example, researchers from the American chemical community have managed to create a liquid metal that can be controlled by a magnetic field. This can be considered a small, but extremely important step, because this is the first time that the material has been moved not only horizontally, but also vertically.
If liquid robots are created in the future, they will most likely be made of gallium or other metals that melt at room temperature. In addition to this property, they have other features like high conductivity and infinite flexibility. Liquid metal can be moved with the help of magnets – the main thing is that particles of nickel or iron are added to the alloy.
Unfortunately, due to the high surface tension, the magnetized liquid metal could only be moved horizontally and only inside a liquid. But researchers have found a way to move them even vertically. They reduced the tension, creating a liquid alloy of gallium, iron, indium and tin – when immersed in hydrochloric acid, a layer of gallium oxide was formed on the surface of the material, which affected the surface tension.
By putting a magnet in opposite sides, the researchers achieved that the material stretched vertically. This means that they can move even in three-dimensional space, and not just in the plane, as before. A new alloy is not yet ready for use in liquid robots – before that scientists are still far away. However, the new discovery, at least a little, brought scientists closer to creating a new type of robot.