Impact of Minor Alloy Components on the Electrocapillarity and Electrochemistry of Liquid Metal Fractals

Ruohan Yu, Jialuo Han, Yuan Chi, Jiewei Zheng, Richard Fuchs, Mohammad B. Ghasemian, Md. Arifur Rahim, Shi‐Yang Tang, Guangzhao Mao*, Kourosh Kalantar‐Zadeh*, Jianbo Tang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Exploring and controlling surface tension‐driven phenomena in liquid metals may lead to unprecedented possibilities for next‐generation microfluidics, electronics, catalysis, and materials synthesis. In pursuit of these goals, the impact of minor constituents within liquid alloys is largely overlooked. Herein, it is showed that the presence of a fraction of solute metals such as tin, bismuth, and zinc in liquid gallium can significantly influence their electrocapillarity and electrochemistry. The instability‐driven fractal formation of liquid alloy droplets is investigated with different solutes and reveals the formation of distinctive non‐branched droplets, unstable fractals, and stable fractal modes under controlled voltage and alkaline solution conditions. In their individually unique fractal morphology diagrams, different liquid alloys demonstrate significantly shifted voltage thresholds in transition between the three fractal modes, depending on the choice of the solute metal. Surface tension measurements, cycle voltammetry and surface compositional characterizations provide strong evidence that the minor alloy components drastically alter the surface tension, surface electrochemical oxidation, and oxide dissolution processes that govern the droplet deformation and instability dynamics. The findings that minor components are able to regulate liquid alloys’ surface tensions, surface element distributions and electrochemical activities offer great promises for harnessing the tunability and functionality of liquid metals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2301348
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Early online date19 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2023

Keywords

  • electrocapillary
  • liquid metals
  • fractal modes
  • surface tension
  • electrochemical oxidation

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