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Breakthrough in liquid metal research paves way for 4-D printing

By Yin Xiaohong (People's Daily Online)    17:28, November 11, 2016

Recently, a study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported that liquid metal can be formed into various shapes on the surface of graphite. Moreover, the liquid metal can retain its new shape, and is even capable of some anti-gravity movement. These discoveries have pointed to the possibility of flexible robot research and 4-D printing. 

According to the article, the research team first found that by introducing a graphite substrate, they could easily form liquid metal into different clear shapes, such as triangles, squares and circles. Prior to this research, liquid metal was only able to be shaped using external electric fields, and it always shrank back into a sphere as soon as the electric field was removed. This research therefore demonstrates the possibility of more freely manipulating liquid metal, which is of great importance to the development of flexible electronic elements, transformable intelligent machines and advanced manufacturing. 

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