The autonomous locomotion for a macroscopic machine remains an intriguing issue for the researchers to explore.
Recently, Professor LIU Jing and his group from Tsinghua University demonstrated that as a versatile material, the liquid metal could be self-actuated when fueled with aluminum (Al) flake, and the motion thus enabled would persist for more than an hour at a quite high velocity.
Based on the previous study, the present work proposed to realize a much larger liquid metal machine, which could autonomously move and accelerate with the increase of temperature. More surprisingly, when dividing a large running liquid metal vehicle into several smaller ones, each of them still maintains its traveling state along the original track.
If several dispersive vehicles moved close to each other, they could coalesce seamlessly, and then still kept moving forward. This finding has been published on Science Bulletin, 2015.
Conventionally, it has been a challenge for a machine to achieve self-assembly without manual intervention. Generally, the self-assembly indicates a reversible process that pre-designed discrete modules could be assembled together.
When assembling the machine, each module is bound to the other. And if the discrete modules are needed to work individually, each of them should be equipped with separate power sources. These processes often results in a complex design and fabrication.
Inspired by the liquid metal enabled autonomous motion, which tactfully obviated the need of external energy, the present study demonstrated that through elevating the temperature, a much larger self-propelled machine could be achieved. More importantly, during the moving process, if dividing a large machine into several smaller separately running vehicles, each of them still resumes its traveling state along the original track and chases each other.
If the volumes of such dispersive vehicles were close to each other, and they were all squeezed in the channel, the vehicles would move synchronously with oscillation. Otherwise, such self-motion would become desynchronized with interval between the inequable vehicles decreased gradually.
If their volumes were significantly different, and the smaller vehicles were not squeezed in the channel, the faster vehicle would overtake the slower ones, until finally coalesced seamlessly. The assembled vehicle could deform itself along with change of its velocity.
This finding may shed light on future researches on smart material, fluid mechanics and soft matter to self-fueled machine. It would also offer opportunities for constructing self-reconfigurable soft robots.
See the article: ZHANG Jie, YAO Youyou, LIU Jing, Autonomous convergence and divergence of the self-powered soft liquid metal vehicles, Science Bulletin, 2015.
LIU Jing | EurekAlert!
Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences