Broken wires are about to be a thing of the past.Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed elastic, self-healing wires that could be used in technologies that are exposed to high-stress environments.
They made these wires by first creating tiny tunnels in a self-healing polymer sheath. They then filled the tunnels with a liquid metal alloy made of indium and gallium, which they used to make a liquid metal wire in an elastic sheath.
If the wire gets cut, the liquid metal oxidizes and forms a skin to prevent leakage. When the severed edges of the wire are put back together, the liquid metal is able to reconnect and the sheath re-forms a molecular bond.
“We’re also excited about this work because it allows us to create more complex circuits and rewire existing circuits using nothing more than a pair of scissors by cutting and reconfiguring the wires so that they connect in different ways,” Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of the report, said in a press release.
Check out a video of the process below.