Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Liquid metal for 3D printing could lead to bendy electronics, T-1000

9:20 PM

DNP 3D printing liquid metal a la Terminator, yo

3D printing is awesome, yet it still has a lot of untapped potential -- you can use it to create terrifying spiderbots and even tiny drones, but you can't make electronic components out of pools of plastic. Thankfully, a team of North Carolina State University researchers have discovered a mixture of liquid metal that can retain shapes, which could eventually be used for 3D printing. Liquid metals naturally have the tendency to merge, but alloys composed of gallium and indium combined form a skin around the material. This allows researchers to create structures by piling drops on top of each other using a syringe, as well as to create specific shapes by using templates. The team is looking for a way to use the mixture with existing 3D printing technologies, but it might take some before it's widely used as it currently costs 100 times more than plastic. We hope they address both issues in the near future, so we can conjure up futuristic tech like bendy electronics, or maybe even build a body to go with that artificial skin.

Via: New Scientist, Gizmodo Australia

Source: North Carolina State University


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