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!
How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years
27.10.2016 | University of California - Los Angeles
3-D-printed structures shrink when heated
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences