- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Components with self-propelling abilities are important building blocks of small autonomous systems and the characteristics of liquid metals are capable of fulfilling self-propulsion criteria. To date, there has been no exploration regarding the effect of electrolyte ionic content surrounding a liquid metal for symmetry breaking that generates motion. Here we show the controlled actuation of liquid metal droplets using only the ionic properties of the aqueous electrolyte. We demonstrate that pH or ionic concentration gradients across a liquid metal droplet induce both deformation and surface Marangoni flow. We show that the Lippmann dominated deformation results in maximum velocity for the self-propulsion of liquid metal droplets and illustrate several key applications, which take advantage of such electrolyte-induced motion. With this finding, it is possible to conceive the propulsion of small entities that are constructed and controlled entirely with fluids, progressing towards more advanced soft systems. Show more
Journal / seriesNature Communications
Pages / Article No.
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