American researchers use inkjet printing technology to manufacture liquid alloy equipment

Researchers at Purdue University have used inkjet printing technology to manufacture liquid alloy equipment. This new process can be used to mass produce flexible and extendable conductors up to software robots.

According to a physicist's website on April 8 (Beijing time), the research paper published in Advanced Materials on April 18th said that Purdue's new technology focuses on driving inkjet printing. The technology is used to make liquid alloy equipment that can print flexible stretchable conductors for all elastomeric materials and fibers, also known as "mechanically sintered gallium indium nanoparticles" methods.

Rebecca Carmoor, author of the paper and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, said: "We want to create a scalable electronic device that can be used with robots that are squeezed into tight spaces or wearable without sports. Compatible. Conductors made of liquid metal can stretch and deform without breaking. The corresponding elastic technology will lead to a new robot that can be worn by a person to interact with a computer or for therapeutic purposes. However, before the software robot is commercially viable, the new industrial manufacturing technology must be developed.

When the researchers describe the new process, the printable ink first breaks down the liquid metal into bulk particles in a non-metallic solvent, and then they break it into nanoparticles with ultrasound, which is the ink that can be filled with the ink. Print technology is compatible.

Camel explained: "The natural state of liquid metal is not for inkjet printing. What we do is to create tiny liquid metal nanoparticles that can pass through the printer nozzle. First, the sonicated liquid The metal is placed in an ethanol solvent to form nanoparticles in the solvent and uniformly distributed; then printing can be performed on any substrate; after evaporation of the ethanol, the 'work' of the liquid metal nanoparticle printing can be obtained." After printing, the nanometer The particles must be fused by the light pressure that reconstructs the conductivity of the material. This step is very important because the liquid metal nanoparticles have previously been coated with a gallium oxide "skin" that prevents electrical conduction. Because of its fragility, it disappears immediately after being pressed. The particles rejoined together.

The new process also allows a certain part of the material to be more flexible in accordance with the special design. Camer said: "We can selectively activate a part by applying pressure in a specific area." This means that it has great potential application value in the blank film manufacturing industry.

Researchers say that the future direction of research will be to explore how ink interacts with the surface being printed to better facilitate the production of specific types of equipment. In addition, the researchers will simulate the rupture of individual particles when they are stressed, providing useful information for making new sensors.

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