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Metals 2014, 4(4), 465-476;

Production of Liquid Metal Spheres by Molding

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 August 2014 / Revised: 18 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 15 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
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This paper demonstrates a molding technique for producing spheres composed of eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) with diameters ranging from hundreds of microns to a couple millimeters. The technique starts by spreading EGaIn across an elastomeric sheet featuring cylindrical reservoirs defined by replica molding. The metal flows into these features during spreading. The spontaneous formation of a thin oxide layer on the liquid metal keeps the metal flush inside these reservoirs. Subsequent exposure to acid removes the oxide and causes the metal to bead up into a sphere with a size dictated by the volume of the reservoirs. This technique allows for the production and patterning of droplets with a wide range of volumes, from tens of nanoliters up to a few microliters. EGaIn spheres can be embedded or encased subsequently in polymer matrices using this technique. These spheres may be useful as solder bumps, electrodes, thermal contacts or components in microfluidic devices (valves, switches, pumps). The ease of parallel-processing and the ability to control the location of the droplets during their formation distinguishes this technique. View Full-Text
Keywords: liquid metal; EGaIn; spheres; molding liquid metal; EGaIn; spheres; molding

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mohammed, M.G.; Xenakis, A.; Dickey, M.D. Production of Liquid Metal Spheres by Molding. Metals 2014, 4, 465-476.

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