Gallium-based room temperature liquid metal alloys have recently been explored to be an emerging functional material. They have attracted particular attentions in a variety of applications due to their unique properties. Many of the applications are based on the precise control over the motion of liquid metal, and yet, the fact that currently lacking the advanced and reliable controlling methods greatly hinders the potential of liquid metal to be applied in a wider range of fields. In this study, an innovative approach is developed to obtain functional liquid metal (FLM) by modifying it with copper-iron magnetic nanoparticles (Cu-Fe NPs). The magnetic modification process enables the Cu-Fe NPs to be suspended within the liquid metal and form the FLM. The FLM exhibits similar appearance, actuating behaviors, and deformability in alkaline solutions to those of pure liquid metal alloys. Meanwhile, the magnetic modification enables the precise and rapid manipulation of the liquid metal using a magnetic field. Most importantly, for the first time, the precise control and climbing locomotion of the FLM is demonstrated with the interworking of both electric and magnetic fields simultaneously. The remarkable features of the FLM may represent vast potentials toward the development of future intelligent soft robots.
Available for download on Wednesday, January 22, 2020