Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Physics


Over the past decade, gallium-based liquid metals have attracted enormous attention, emerging as a new cutting-edge multi-functional material for reconfigurable electronics, soft robotics, microfluidics, and biomedical applications, based on utilizing the intrinsic advantages of liquid metal. These unique advantages that combine high electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, biocompatibility, low mechanical compliance, and viscosity all-in-one make the liquid metal applicable for a tremendous number of applications. Moreover, the self-passivating oxide skin of the liquid metal in an ambient environment forms a unique core (oxide skin)-shell (liquid metal) structure and provides a new strategy for two-dimensional thin films with a thickness of a few nanometers. The reports on the liquid metal can be mainly divided into three categories: 1) liquid-metal-based composite structures; 2) the core-shell strategy for thin films; and 3) electrochemical manipulation of the liquid metal in electrolyte.

The liquid metal (LM) composites represent material systems in which LM alloys are either suspended as small droplets within a soft polymer matrix or mixed with metallic nanoparticles to form a biphasic composition, through which the electrical, dielectric, and thermal properties of composites can be controlled, thus enabling their applications in soft-matter sensing, actuation, and energy harvesting. Moreover, the fluidity and conductivity of the liquid metal make it suitable to be directly patterned (i.e., liquid metal ink) on various soft substrates (e.g., polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) for ultra-stretchable electronics. Compared to the traditional electronics, which are typically composed of intrinsically rigid materials that have limited deformability, the liquid metal based soft electronics are highly flexible, stretchable, and conformable. Most importantly, they are capable of electrical self-healing, enabling their electrical functionality, even under severe damage. These properties and applications of liquid metal composites show great potential for practical usage.

FoR codes (2008)

020303 Fluid Physics, 030604 Electrochemistry



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.