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Shape-Shifting Liquid Metal Becomes a Reality

Terminator 2 is widely remembered for its metal shape-shifting villain. Impervious to bullets, explosives, and fire, theT-1000 robot was capable of changing shape at will. Researchers at the North Carolina State University have taken a step towards making science fiction a reality by developing a technique for controlling the surface tension of liquid metals using very low voltages. This technology paves the way for shape-reconfigurable metal components in electronic, electromagnetic, and microfluidic devices.

The researchers, led by Research Triangle MRSEC investigator Michael Dickey, used a liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium, which forms a spherical shape due to its large surface tension. By applying a small voltage (