Scientists Develop "First Liquid Metal Lattice in the World"
A team of scientists developed the first liquid metal lattice in the world, made from Field’s alloy. The Field’s mix of indium, tin, and bismuth becomes liquid at the relatively low melting point of 62°C.
They also proved that the Field’s alloy could have other applications rather than as a liquid-metal coolant in nuclear engineering.
The team of researchers mixed the metal lattice material with a rubber shell using a hybrid developing process. Such a new method comprises 3D printing, conformal coating (utilized on electronic circuitry to avoid dust, chemicals, and extreme temperatures), and vacuum casting.
Without the shell, it won't work, because the liquid metal will flow away. The shell skeleton controls the overall shape and integrity, so the liquid metal itself can be confined in the channels.
The team realized a series of prototypes that retake their shapes after being heated to the melting point. The prototypes include a “spider web-” like mesh antennas, soccer balls, honeycombs, and the letters BUME – the Binghamton University Mechanical Engineering. The properties obtained from the prototypes could inspire lots of uses. When the liquid metal is in a solid-state, for instance, it is sturdy and safe. The liquid metal lattice also absorbs a lot of energy when smashed; then, after a re-heating and cooling, it returns to its initial shape and can be reutilized. Using this Field’s alloy, you can crash into it like other metals, but then heat it later to recover its shape. You can use it over and over again.”