Developed "folding metal". How can it help to improve robotics


2019-11-28 06:00:07




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Flexible metal with unique properties — this is something new!

For a long time there, if you can call it that, «soft robots». They are usually made from elastic materials like rubber or plastic. However, the invention of scientists from Singapore can easily turn the view of all robotics. After all, they managed to create «foldable «, which literally can «collapse in accordion». And it does not lose its properties.

How to create «flexible metal»

Today the soft robots do most of the times stacked several sheets of plastic or paper. And sensors, circuit boards, batteries, and electrical wiring attached to the surface of the robots, making them more bulky, heavy and less flexible.

However , scientists from the National University of Singapore have developed a new material with properties very much like metal (and even partially they are), but on the structure of this material is quite unusual.

At the heart of this «almost metal» is, oddly enough, plain paper. For a start, this paper is the type of accordion, and then put it in the graphene oxide, where the paper is covered with a thin layer of this graphene. Then, the resulting material is immersed in a solution ions of platinum (gold or silver can also be used for this purpose). In the next step the material is annealed in a flame obtained by combustion of gaseous argon at a temperature of 800 degrees Celsius, and in the final there is another roasting, but in a flame of burning oxygen at a temperature of 500 degrees Celsius.

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As a result of this process yields a material consisting of 70% metal (in this case platinum) and 30% amorphous carbon. To stabilize the material, it is impregnated with a solution of elastomer. It turns out stiff, stretchable and elastic material, with a thickness of only 90 micrometers. It weighs less than half of the paper, but, unlike the latter, well, it conducts electricity.

Here is «foldable metal»

Why «flexible metal»

The material can withstand for 5 minutes at a temperature of 800 degrees before it will start to melt and disintegrate. Lower temperatures it is almost not terrible. Such properties allow the creation of his robots to work in dangerous conditions, where any other technology simply can not survive. The experiments showed that the new material is able to respond to mechanical tension, which makes it suitable for creating sensors. It can also lead to the development of «built-in metal» pressure and stretching.

Moreover, a new substance, you might say, is an antenna capable of transmitting information on the same antenna created from the same substance. And therefore, such robots will be able to communicate with each other wirelessly. How do you like that «flexible metal»? Write your feedback in our

Currently, scientists are looking for ways to replacement of platinum to less expensive metals, such as copper. It is worth noting that the new material has the potential to accumulate energy. So it can be used as a battery. But that scientists have yet to test.


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