Liquid metal stretches, Come with me if you want to stretch.
In good news, scientists have not created a remorseless Terminator-style killing machine for real. In other good news, they’ve figured out how to make a liquid metal that can stretch in all sorts of directions. It looks like a sci-fi visual effect made real.
The American Chemical Society released a video on Wednesday of the metal in action to go along with a paper titled Magnetic Liquid Metals Manipulated in the Three-Dimensional Free Space from the Applied Materials & Interfaces journal.
The shiny liquid metal can be manipulated with magnets. It stretches like the fictional T-1000 robot from Terminator 2, and can also be used to complete a circuit.
Scientists at Beihang University in China led the research project.
“They added iron particles to a droplet of a gallium, indium and tin alloy immersed in hydrochloric acid,” the ACS reports. “A gallium oxide layer formed on the droplet surface, which lowered the surface tension of the liquid metal.” This allows it to stretch out and move without breaking apart.
We’re a long way off from morphing androids, but the researchers believe this sort of liquid metal could one day be incorporated into soft robotics. You can almost hear it whispering, “I’ll be back.”