Latest in Science

Image credit:

Liquid metal printing puts flexible circuits on 'anything'

181 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Thanks to top universities and some companies, soft robots and stretchy electronics are already a reality. Now a group of researchers from Purdue claim they've found the right manufacturing process to produce those types of devices en masse. Their method entails printing out circuits using an inkjet printer loaded with liquid metal alloy. "This process... allows us to print flexible and stretchable conductors onto anything, including elastic materials and fabrics," said Rebecca Kramer, one of the researchers. After all, if the circuits are made from liquid metal, they can be stretched, folded, squeezed, and so on and so forth, without breaking.

They call the technique "mechanically sintered gallium-indium nanoparticles," because, well, they need to turn liquid metal into nanoparticles first before it can function as ink. That's made possible by immersing the alloy into a solvent such as ethanol and subjecting the mixture to ultrasound in order to disperse the liquid metal.

The printed circuits end up being protected by a "skin" that prevents electrical conductivity. But that can easily be removed by applying light pressure (like stamping or scraping) on the printout, allowing designers to choose which parts of the circuits to activate. The team plans to explore the technique further and perhaps put it to the test, but you can read more about their study when their paper gets published in the April 18th issue of Advanced Materials.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
181 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Google Play Music will start shutting down in September

Google Play Music will start shutting down in September

View
The Morning After: Google's $350 Pixel 4a is the best midrange phone you can buy

The Morning After: Google's $350 Pixel 4a is the best midrange phone you can buy

View
A $13,000 electric car will go on sale in the US by late 2020

A $13,000 electric car will go on sale in the US by late 2020

View
Apple updates the 27-inch iMac with new chips, finally makes SSDs standard

Apple updates the 27-inch iMac with new chips, finally makes SSDs standard

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr