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Materials & Assembly

Video: 3D-Printed Liquid Metal Structures at Room Temperature

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TJ McDermott
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Terminator has ruined us
TJ McDermott   8/19/2013 10:03:48 AM
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Come on, you KNOW you thought that first when you read the title.  OK, set that aside, and the technology is jaw-dropping.  The future is going to be fun!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Terminator has ruined us
Ann R. Thryft   8/19/2013 1:07:06 PM
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TJ, you might be surprised how many times the NCSU press release got republished with the word "Terminator" in the title and lead paragraph. To be honest, that wasn't the first thing I thought of.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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OK, then: “Rise of the Silver Surfer”.
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   8/20/2013 2:14:23 PM
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TJ – good statement; this IS jaw-dropping.  I wonder how well it might stand up to any prolonged use, as it appears to be pretty "fluid" (or, damageable).  Also, I have no idea how stable ( or, safe & non-toxic?) Gallium is.  I do know from my work with touch-screens and LCDs that Indium is pretty inert.

Greg M. Jung
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Extruded Metal
Greg M. Jung   8/25/2013 12:44:54 PM
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I was especially impressed with the extruded metal process to make wires and to connect circuits.  I could see an application for rapid prototype PCB's being made in the future (without the use of the old 'green wire' technique).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Extruded Metal
Ann R. Thryft   8/26/2013 1:17:59 PM
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I had a similar "vision" Greg about the use of these wires. I still think it all looks like magic.



Cabe Atwell
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Re: Extruded Metal
Cabe Atwell   8/27/2013 2:31:01 PM
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Incredible. I'm curious as to how much voltage can be delivered through the wire before it melts.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Extruded Metal
Ann R. Thryft   8/27/2013 4:23:38 PM
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Isn't this a mind-boggle? To answer your question, the paper does not mention voltage at all. It does say "Injection of liquid metal into microchannels is an established method to shape the metal for reconfigurable wires and antennas, interconnects, electrical components for microfluidics, and "soft" electrodes for electrical characterizations of thin films."

William K.
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Printed liquid metal
William K.   8/31/2013 8:33:31 PM
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This is quite impressive but not quite jaw dropping. Some of these alloys have ben around for a while, such as Kirksite, a low temperature melting metal used for a number of things, and quite hard, also.

The electrical properties would be interesting to know, and I can see that it probably has a bit of resistance, so it would not work for high currents. My concern would be the lack of strength. Consider what could happen if the assembly with this material as the interconnect got bumped a bit too hard, and the connections rearranged themselves. THAT could be quite a pain.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Printed liquid metal
Ann R. Thryft   9/3/2013 12:02:58 PM
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William, that was my concern, too about strength. There's not much in the article about this. The authors do describe one experimental prototype device, where "The liquid metal bridge connecting the LEDs functioned up to the strain limit of PDMS [polydimethylsiloxane] (Figure 4 b, ∼ 35% strain) and while being flexed without losing its electrical continuity."
Not much is said about electrical properties, but one thing they mentioned was that "electrical resistance remains largely unaffected because the skin is thin. In addition, the liquid metal adheres to most surfaces and alloys with many metals to form ohmic contacts."

William K.
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Re: Printed liquid metal
William K.   9/3/2013 4:27:30 PM
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Ann, those two descriptors make me quite concerned, since they also describe mercury quite well. It also alloys with many other metals and also develops a very thin skin. Actually, it develops a thin film, I would not call it a skin.

So now comes a question about the toxisity of this wonderful new material. Isn't it awful when people keep asking pointy questions?

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