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Liquid Metal 3D Structures

Liquid Metal 3D Structures

Most 3D printing we are familiar with involves extrusion of plastic like materials. Some 3D printers can work with metals and other substances. Liquid metal is a natural medium to combine with 3D printing techniques. Mixing conductive and non-conductive materials in 3D printing seems like an exciting idea.

3D Printing of Liquid Metals at Room Temperature

Researchers at NC State have developed a way to print liquid metals into 3D structures at room temperature. The structures are stabilized by a thin oxide ‘skin’ that forms on the liquid metal. The approaches shown here represent new ways to direct write metals in 3D. In addition, the resulting components can, in principle, self-heal (“Self-healing stretchable wires” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfAOEt1eNFU) and be ultra-stretchable ( “Ultra-stretchable wires” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlVuIK5wAj0).

Researchers Build 3-D Structures Out of Liquid Metal – [ncsu.edu]

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed three-dimensional (3-D) printing technology and techniques to create free-standing structures made of liquid metal at room temperature.

“It’s difficult to create structures out of liquids, because liquids want to bead up. But we’ve found that a liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium reacts to the oxygen in the air at room temperature to form a ‘skin’ that allows the liquid metal structures to retain their shapes,” says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work.

A Factory That Can Make Anything

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