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Self-Actuation of Liquid Metal via Redox Reaction

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posted on 13.01.2016, 00:00 by Ryan C. Gough, Jonathan H. Dang, Matthew R. Moorefield, George B. Zhang, Lloyd H. Hihara, Wayne A. Shiroma, Aaron T. Ohta
Presented here is a method for actuating a gallium-based liquid-metal alloy without the need for an external power supply. Liquid metal is used as an anode to drive a complementary oxygen reduction reaction, resulting in the spontaneous growth of hydrophilic gallium oxide on the liquid-metal surface, which induces flow of the liquid metal into a channel. The extent and duration of the actuation are controllable throughout the process, and the induced flow is both reversible and repeatable. This self-actuation technique can also be used to trigger other electrokinetic or fluidic mechanisms.