Exploring the limits of novel 3-D printing technology, researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered a way to build microstructures out of liquid.
Creating freestanding structures out of liquids is challenging, but the NC State team found an alloy of gallium and indium that’s liquid at room temperature, which forms a skin in contact with air, allowing the liquid structures to retain their shapes.
The completed microstructures will be able to connect electronic components. The team is currently focusing on further developing these techniques in order to use them in conjunction with established 3-D printing technologies.
Watch a video of the process below.
The full paper, 3-D Printing of Free Standing Liquid Metal Microstructures, was completed by lead author Collin Ladd, a recent NC State graduate, along with co-authors Dr. Michael Dickey, Dr. Ju-Hee So, and Dr. John Muth.