Particle-based porous materials for the rapid and spontaneous diffusion of liquid metals

Jian Shu, Yangming Lu, Erlong Wang, Xiangpeng Li, Shi-Yang Tang, Sizepeng Zhao, Xiangbo Zhou, Lining Sun, Weihua Li, Shiwu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Gallium-based room-temperature liquid metals have enormous potential for realizing various applications in electronic devices, heat flow management, and soft actuators. Filling narrow spaces with a liquid metal is of great importance in rapid prototyping and circuit printing. However, it is relatively difficult to stretch or spread liquid metals into desired patterns because of their large surface tension. Here, we propose a method to fabricate a particle-based porous material which can enable the rapid and spontaneous diffusion of liquid metals within the material under a capillary force. Remarkably, such a method can allow liquid metal to diffuse along complex structures and even overcome the effect of gravity despite their large densities. We further demonstrate that the developed method can be utilized for prototyping complex three-dimensional (3D) structures via direct casting and connecting individual parts or by 3D printing. As such, we believe that the presented technique holds great promise for the development of additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and soft electronics using liquid metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11163-11170
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number9
Early online date10 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020


  • capillary force
  • diffusion
  • liquid metal
  • porous materials
  • rapid prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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