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Liquid metal in the era of amorphous alloys ushered in an explosion opportunity

Posted by: Chris Na 2021-12-18 Comments Off on Liquid metal in the era of amorphous alloys ushered in an explosion opportunity

In the usual impression, metal is mostly solid, while liquid metal refers to a low-melting alloy with a melting point of less than 200 degrees Celsius, which is liquid at room temperature. Liquid metal is also called metallic glass or amorphous alloy. The name seems to be a collection of contradictions: liquid and metal.

The official name of liquid metal is “amorphous alloy”. It breaks the crystallization of the metal and forms an amorphous alloy by artificially intervening in the solidification process of the metal from a high temperature liquid to a solid, thereby obtaining the superior performance of high hardness, high toughness and high strength. Perhaps the most powerful performance of liquid metal is its extremely high yield strength. General metal materials exist in the form of crystals, with long-range order.

Liquid metal in the era of amorphous alloys ushered in an explosion opportunity

Different from people’s daily cognition, liquid metal is not a new thing in academia. The earliest report of the successful preparation of amorphous alloys dates back to 1934, when an amorphous film was obtained by Kramer using vapor deposition. But the actual preparation of bulk amorphous alloys was obtained in the 1990s.

In 1993, the founder of Liquidmetal Technologies (the only company in the world that can produce bulk liquid metal), Professor Johnson of Caltech and his student Peker, developed a new type of bulk amorphous alloy system, Zr-Ti -Cu-Ni-Be, laying the foundation for the commercialization of liquid metal.

This technology was discovered in 1959. After nearly 60 years of unremitting efforts, the industrial process from laboratory to industrialization has been realized in recent years, and it has been applied in consumer electronics, sports products, luxury goods, medical equipment, aerospace and other fields. .

The preparation process of liquid metal seems to be the same as that of other alloys. The metal raw materials are melted and then cooled. However, the secret to preparing liquid metal is: cold enough! Only by cooling quickly can the disorder in the liquid metal be preserved. The cooling rate of some liquid metals needs to reach 1 million degrees per second, so it is quite difficult to prepare.

The latest application and scientific research results of liquid metal in 19 years

ASUS releases the first liquid metal phone

ASUS Zenphone 6 was released on December 6, in which liquid metal materials will be displayed as a competitive advantage. This is the first time in recent years that a mobile phone manufacturer has publicly announced the use of liquid metal materials. It was jointly developed by Asustek and an amorphous alloy die-casting manufacturer in Jiangsu.

The hinge and shell of this flip camera product are an integrated structure, which requires a complex precision structure, extremely high mechanical properties, guarantee of appearance quality, and at the same time a suitable cost. It has been successfully tested and reached the design requirements after many times.

Tsinghua University launches a new generation of liquid metal-based composite tumor embolic agents

Recently, Liu Jing’s research group reported a new generation of functional composite tumor embolization agents: liquid metal/calcium alginate (LM/CA) hydrogel, which is flexible and simple to operate, injectable and visualized, and can be made as needed. Tumor preparations with specific functions.

In the research, the gallium-indium alloy liquid metal is broken into tiny particles by ultrasonic, and they are evenly dispersed in the sodium alginate aqueous solution, combined with the calcium ion solution, can quickly form a solid liquid metal/calcium alginate hydrogel in situ. A large number of principle tests have shown that this hydrogel has high vascular compliance, good hydrophilicity, uniform structure, and good plasticity. After being injected into the body, it binds tightly and firmly with blood vessels. It can be used as a high-performance vascular embolization agent to block blood vessels. Initiate ischemic necrosis of the tumor and surrounding tissues for tumor treatment.

Multi-site tumor conformal therapy based on the electromagnetic effect of printed liquid metal skin

Liu Jing’s research group at Tsinghua University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported the combination of patterned gallium-based liquid metal (mainly GaIn alloy) conductive materials with electromagnetic induction to achieve electronic skin (e-skin) circuits Suitable for large-area heating and combining it with disease treatment to expand the application range of e-skin and bioelectrodes.

This treatment technology that combines liquid metal printing electronics and electromagnetic induction is expected to become a breakthrough treatment in the field of portable systemic hyperthermia and multi-site tumor treatment.

This physical field and liquid metal skin electronic tumor treatment method avoids the complicated treatment process, can achieve temporal and spatial control, flexible operation, and can also avoid the immune response or metabolic problems caused by the direct injection of additional nanomaterials into the body.

my country’s liquid metal composite material that achieves super large-scale expansion and deformation

On January 31, 2019, the journal ACS Omega of the American Chemical Society published a paper by the joint research group of Tsinghua University, the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the China Agricultural University. Large-scale expansion and deformation of liquid metal composite materials.

The composite material is made of liquid metal and silica gel, and contains a low boiling point working fluid inside. It is an extension of the liquid metal silica gel composite material system first proposed in the world by my country.

In May, the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University once again confirmed for the first time a new method for rapidly preparing hydrogen tungsten bronze structural materials at room temperature with the help of liquid metal, and revealed the interesting discoloration effect. By controlling the preparation temperature, the concentration of H+ ions in the solution, and the preparation time, the controllable incorporation of the content of H+ ions into the HxMO3 lattice is realized, which can meet the application requirements of different fields.

Liquid metal smart clothing comes out

The research team of Professor Liu Jing and Professor Zhang Yingying from Tsinghua University jointly developed a method for preparing liquid metal smart clothing. With this method, a large-area liquid metal circuit can be conveniently and quickly prepared on the cotton cloth, and the prepared liquid metal circuit can be arbitrarily folded and stretched with the clothing.

Based on this preparation method, researchers have designed a smart clothing system with multiple functions such as human-computer interaction, wireless power supply, flexible display, and human thermal management.

Compared with traditional stretchable conductive materials, Cu-EGaIn paste has ultra-high conductivity and better compliance. Even if the cloth is stretched or folded, the Cu-EGaIn paste on it can still be produced. Corresponding deformation, and maintain the stability of the circuit connection.

Self-assembly method of flexible liquid metal film proposed by Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Chinese Academy of Sciences

The low-temperature biological and medical research team of the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used self-assembly deposition to prepare an electrically anisotropic flexible liquid metal film.

Under normal circumstances, the film is non-conductive on both sides; and under the action of vertical concentrated stress or shear friction, the liquid nano EGaIn particles in the lower layer of the film can achieve effective conduction, thereby transmitting electrical signals. It is worth mentioning that , The turn-on response time of nano liquid metal is only 2 ns.

As a new type of electronic paper, this liquid metal film provides a simple and fast manufacturing and response platform for manufacturing multi-layer complex circuits for smart micro-scale sensors.

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