Liquid Metal 

Liquid Metal Alloy - (Gallium, Indium, Tin)

Starting at: $25.00

Liquid Metal Alloy
metal alloy: Ga, In, Sn
( liquid )
This absolutely amazing metal is liquid at room temperature. Its melting temperature is 51°F!
It is an alloy of Gallium, Indium and Tin. We cannot call this 'Galinstan' because that is a trademark of another company - but this alloy is very similar to it and its properties. Unlike toxic Mercury, this liquid metal alloy is much safer to use.

It is being considered for use as a coolant in fusion reactors and other cutting edge physics applications and experiments. It does not exhibit the high surface tension of Mercury, so it does not 'bead up' like Mercury does. The surface tension of this alloy is very low. Because of this, it 'wets' glass and similar materials. It will form a mirror just by pouring some on glass, and is used in liquid metal telescopes. A fascinating material to experiment with.


We have a large amount of this material and can fill any need you have for it.
Supplied in stick-resistant HDPE bottles. Available in 10 gram, 20 gram, 50 gram, 100 gram and 1 Kg quantities.
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Galinstan metal alloy and other liquid metals Galinstan is a silvery liquid eutectic mixture of gallium, indium and tin, made by Geratherm. It has a melting point of Tm=−20°C, Tb>1300 ºC,ρ=6440 kg/m3 , sound speed 2950 m/s, viscosity 0.0024 Pa∙s at 20 ºC.

 

They are much more viscous than Hg. In 2003, ¼ of silvery thermometers use galinstan instead of mercury. Any alloy containing gallium in a concentration of 65-95 wt.-%, indium in a concentration of 5-22 wt.-% and tin in a concentration of 0-11 wt.-%, can be used for thermometers, but ample margin must be allowed to avoid shatter by freezing; e.g. Tm<−10°C.

 

There can be other liquid metals at room temperature, as Na-K 22/78%wt eutectic alloy, with Tm=-12.6 ºC, Tb=785 ºC, ρL=866 kg/m3 at 20 ºC (at 100 ºC, ρL=855 kg/m3 , αL=340∙10-6 1/K, cL=936 J/(kg∙K), kL=23 W/(m∙K), µL=505∙10-6 Pa∙s, σL=115∙10-3 N/m and σele=2.5∙106 S/m, i.e. 4% that of Cu). It is used for high-temperature heat-transfer fluid, catalyst, reagent in petrochemical processing, electricallyactivated hydraulic fluid. It is a silver-coloured liquid metal, odourless and corrosive. It reacts violently with water, liberating and igniting flammable hydrogen gas, perhaps explosively.

 

After exposure to air, may form yellow potassium superoxide which reacts violently and explosively with organics. It must be stored in a dry N2 or Ar atmosphere, or better under oil.

Non-metal liquid thermometers (spirit thermometers) There are several kinds of non-mercury thermometers, but their usefulness is limited by the temperature range allowed, i.e. it should not freeze or vaporise at normal temperatures (−10 ºC..110 ºC). Possible working liquids are:

 

• Red-dyed: alcohol, toluene, pentane, xylene, kerosene (some 1 g of liquid plus <0.03 g of aniline dye). • Blue-dyed: isoamyl benzoate (pale-yellow, C12H16O2, M=0.192 kg/mol, ρ=990 kg/m3 , Tm=??, Tb=261 ºC, Tflash=95 ºC, biodegradable).

 

• Dark-green-dyed: monoazo-anthroquinone dissolved in some natural oil and dyed. Occasionally, the fluid in spirit thermometers will separate during storage and/or shipping, but this is a correctable problem. The two methods described below can be used. Remember to wear hand and eye protection when you perform either of these correction procedures.

 

• Heating Method: Holding the thermometer in an upright position and away from your face, heat it suspended in warming liquid or in hot air from a hair dryer (never from a flame!) just until the separated portion of the column enters the expansion chamber at the top of the thermometer (some 130 ºC).

 

Be very careful and stop heating as soon as the fluid enters the expansion chambers. Over-filling the expansion chamber will break the thermometer. Now, while keeping the thermometer in an upright position, tap it gently against the surface of a rubber stopper. This should allow the gas separating the column to rise above the column. Allow the thermometer to cool slowly and store it in an upright position.

 

• Cooling Method: Keeping the thermometer upright, place only the thermometer bulb in a solution of shaved ice and salt or dry ice and alcohol. Allow the liquid column to retreat into the bulb, and then swing the thermometer in an arc. This should release the trapped gas and permit it to escape above the column.

 

Allow the thermometer to slowly return to room temperature and store it in an upright position.

Liquid metal pump a breakthrough for micro-fluidics

RMIT University researchers in Melbourne, Australia, have developed the world's first liquid metal enabled pump, a revolutionary new micro-scale device with no mechanical parts.

The unique design will enable micro-fluidics and lab-on-a-chip technology to finally realise their potential, with applications ranging from biomedicine to biofuels.

The research has been published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Lead investigator Dr Khashayar Khoshmanesh, a Research Fellow in the Centre for Advanced Electronics and Sensors at RMIT, said currently there was no easy way to drive liquid around a fluidic chip in micro-fabricated systems.

"Lab-on-a-chip systems hold great promise for applications such as biosensing and blood analysis but they currently rely on cumbersome, large-scale external pumps, which significantly limit design possibilities," he said.

"Our unique pump enabled by a single droplet of liquid metal can be easily integrated into a micro device, has no mechanical parts and is both energy efficient and easy to produce or replace.

"Just as integrated micro-electronics has revolutionised the way that we process information – enabling the development of computers and smart phones – integrated micro-fluidics has the potential to revolutionise the way we process chemicals and manipulate bio-particles at the micro-scale.

 

"This innovation shows that micro- and nano-scale pumping can be accomplished with a simple system – a crucial advance for the field of micro-fluidics."

The design uses droplets of Galinstan – a non-toxic liquid metal alloy comprised of gallium, indium and tin – as the core of a pumping system to induce flows of liquid in looped channels.

When the alloy is activated by applying a voltage, the charge distribution along the surface is altered. This propels the surrounding liquid without moving the Galinstan droplet through the loop, using a process called "continuous electrowetting".

The pump is highly controllable, with the flow rate adjusted simply by altering the frequency, magnitude and waveform of the applied signal. The flow direction can also be readily reversed by reversing the polarity of the applied voltage.

Explore further

Stabilisation of microdroplets using ink jet process

More information: Shi-Yang Tang, Khashayar Khoshmanesh, Vijay Sivan, Phred Petersen, Anthony P. O'Mullane, Derek Abbott, Arnan Mitchell, and Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh. "Liquid metal enabled pump." PNAS 2014 ; published ahead of print February 18, 2014, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319878111

Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A Gallium-Based Magnetocaloric Liquid Metal Ferrofluid

Isabela A. de Castro†, Adam F. Chrimes†, Ali Zavabeti†, Kyle J. Berean†, Benjamin J. Carey†, Jincheng Zhuang‡, Yi Du‡ , Shi X. Dou‡, Kiyonori Suzuki§, Robert A. Shanks∥ , Reece Nixon-Luke⊥, Gary Bryant⊥, Khashayar Khoshmanesh†, Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh*† , and Torben Daeneke*† 

† School of Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia

‡ Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2500, Australia

§ Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia

∥ School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia

⊥ Centre for Molecular and Nanoscale Physics, School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia

Nano Lett., 2017, 17 (12), pp 7831–7838

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b04050

Publication Date (Web): November 2, 2017

Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

*E-mail: torben.daeneke@rmit.edu.au., *E-mail: kourosh.kalantar@rmit.edu.au

We demonstrate a magnetocaloric ferrofluid based on a gadolinium saturated liquid metal matrix, using a gallium-based liquid metal alloy as the solvent and suspension medium.

 

The material is liquid at room temperature, while exhibiting spontaneous magnetization and a large magnetocaloric effect. The magnetic properties were attributed to the formation of gadolinium nanoparticles suspended within the liquid gallium alloy, which acts as a reaction solvent during the nanoparticle synthesis.

 

High nanoparticle weight fractions exceeding 2% could be suspended within the liquid metal matrix. The liquid metal ferrofluid shows promise for magnetocaloric cooling due to its high thermal conductivity and its liquid nature.

Magnetic and thermoanalytic characterizations reveal that the developed material remains liquid within the temperature window required for domestic refrigeration purposes, which enables future fluidic magnetocaloric devices. Additionally, the observed formation of nanometer-sized metallic particles within the supersaturated liquid metal solution has general implications for chemical synthesis and provides a new synthetic pathway toward metallic nanoparticles based on highly reactive rare earth metals.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b04050?src=recsys&journalCode=nalefd

Electrostatic Charge Generation - In Hydraulic and Lubrication Systems

Mike Day, Pall Corporation Leonard Bensch, Pall Corporation

Electrostatic charge generation occurs in fluid systems as a result of friction between the fluid and system components. The magnitude of charge depends on many interrelated factors, including the environment.

Charges can occur during filtration of hydraulic and lubricating fluids as well as diesel and gasoline fuels. This effect manifests itself in several ways, the most obvious being an audible noise (clicking sound) as discharge of electrostatic charge accumulation causes sparking internally within the system.

Less apparent effects involve migration of the electrical charge downstream of the filter when the charge dissipates by discharging itself to a grounded surface.

This article discusses the mechanisms of electrostatic charge generation, and the factors that influence both the generation and dissipation of the charge.

Electrostatic Charge Generation in Liquid Systems

Electrostatic charge is generated in a number of ways whenever there is friction between two bodies moving relative to one another.

Charge generation occurs in liquid systems on the molecular level at the interface of any two unlike materials, so a static charge will be generated in any moving fluid, with positive or negative charges moving from the fluid onto the bounding surface. The causes of electrostatic charging include the following examples:

  • Friction caused by fluid flowing in pipes

  • High fluid velocities

  • Fluids flowing in ungrounded pipes and hoses

  • Passage of fluids through filter elements or other microporous structures

  • Generated by turbulence in the liquids and by pumping elements, especially centrifugal pumps

  • Fluid discharging on to the free surface of the reservoir

  • When free air is present in the liquid, for example, in bearing and paper machine return lines

  • Imparted into the liquid when component surfaces sliding is relative to one another

Fluid acquires a charge when it flows through a pipe or microporous structure, and when this charge is carried downstream, it’s called a streaming current (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Streaming Current

In pipeline flow, the streaming current will be discharged back to the pipe walls, reservoir or component surfaces, and the discharge rate is controlled by the characteristics of the fluid and its additives. This charge relaxation is described by the equations below:

where:

Qt = charge at time t

Qo = initial charge

t = charge relaxation time constant (representing 37 percent charge decay)

E = dielectric constant of liquid (approximately 2 for oils)

E0 = absolute dielectric constant of a vacuum (8.854 x 10 - 12 F/m)

K = fluid rest conductivity (pS/m)

If the component walls are conductive, then a charge will be induced on the walls, which is of opposite polarity to the fluid. If the exterior surface is grounded, the net charge will be zero. If not, the charge will accumulate to eventually discharge.

This will generate an electrostatic discharge where the charge discharges to a surface at lower voltage. In doing so, it can generate a high-energy spark. If the discharge occurs in air, the results can be both spectacular and potentially harmful (Figure 2).

Electrostatic discharge usually manifests itself as a clicking sound as charge repeatedly increases and discharges to surfaces of lower voltage (usually earth or ground) through sparking. The clicking frequency depends on the charging rate.

Clearly, if the discharge occurs in a flammable atmosphere the effect can be serious, but these instances are rare. A discharge within the system is usually short-lived and extinguished by the hydraulic fluid. This can result in etching of the discharged surface, perhaps removing microscopic particles and leaving carbon deposits on the surface.

There is also evidence that localized discharge can result from lubricated surfaces, especially in geared and bearing systems with a high air content. This can contribute to pitting of surfaces.

Charging in Hydrocarbon Filtration

Many investigators have studied electrostatic charge generation during filtration of liquid hydrocarbons. The charge generated may be either positive or negative, depending on the fixed charge of the filter material and the fluid used.

Due to the relatively low conductivity of hydrocarbon liquids, these charges are carried downstream and accumulate without immediate discharge. The amount of charge generated by the flow of a hydrocarbon liquid and filtration is related to several fluid and filter properties.

Charge generation typically strengthens with increasing flow, reducing fluid conductivity, with certain additive packages and with increasing viscosity. Charge accumulation increases with lower oil conductivity, lower temperatures and higher viscosities.

In the filter housing, the charge of the filter will be opposite in sign to that of the fluid, and the charges induced on the system will be opposite accordingly.

The charge on the fluid will be transmitted downstream, and if enough charge is accumulated, the fluid can discharge to a conductive part of the filtration system that is potentially lower in magnitude, therefore damaging that part of the system. The extent of damage depends on the material involved.

If the filter is made of nonconductive material, it will acquire a charge when the fluid charges. The charge will not be able to dissipate or relax into the filtration system due to the high resistivity of the material. The filter will act as a capacitor and charge until the voltage is great enough to overcome the gap and discharge to a lower potential.

If the filter is charged with a high enough voltage, it can discharge to the metal parts of the filter assembly housing, causing surface damage to the housing, burn marks and other damage to the filter element. A clicking or rattling sound in the filter housing caused by sparking indicates this cycle of charging and discharging.

In many cases, the filtration system, including the piping, reservoir and filter housing is grounded to alleviate the dangers of static charge buildup. Using a grounded system prevents the sparking of the system to nearby conductors; however, grounding the system will not prevent the charging of the filter material or fluid, nor will it accelerate the process of discharge.

Various attempts have been made to alleviate the potential of static charge accumulation in filtration systems, namely:

  • Use an antistatic additive. Such additives will increase the fluid conductivity, thereby accelerating the rate of charge relaxation. Antistatic additives have been successfully used for a long time in fuel systems but have not been approved by oil manufacturers for use in hydraulic and lube systems. Additives on the market are intended for fuel systems.

  • Reduce the charge exiting the filter by adding a conductive mesh downstream of the filter material which discharges some of the filter material’s charge. However, not all of the fluid’s charge is discharged because the mesh opening cannot be too small or it will restrict the flow.

  • Reduce the flow density in the filter material by increasing the filter size. This will reduce the charge generated, as it is a function of flow density, and is perhaps the easiest of these options. However, it is not practical in all cases.

  • Increase the time for the charge to decay. This will necessitate an increase in the time between successive charge generators by additional piping or increase the overall system time constant using an extra reservoir. This is an effective but costly solution.

Influence of Fluid Conductivity

As in the discussion regarding charge decay, it is noted that the decay time depends mostly on the conductivity of the fluid. Industrial lube oils are usually highly refined oils with a low concentration of additives, and as a result, generally have low conductivities.

Hydraulic oils, on the other hand, traditionally have a high conductivity due to the use of metallic-based additives like zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP), so that charge carried by the oil is generally dissipated as it passes around the system. The accumulated charge generally remains at a level where discharge is not experienced.

Environmental concerns have stimulated developments in both oils and filters. The concern about oil leakage has resulted in the increased use of synthetic oils and those having nonmetallic antiwear additives, usually based upon sulfur-phosphorous chemistry.

These oils can have low conductivities, with some lower than insulating oils used in transformers and switch gears as seen in Table 1. The lower conductivity means that the charge generated may not be dissipated sufficiently, increasing the accumulated charge level and hence the likelihood of discharge.

As a comparison, for aviation fuels, ASTM D4865 provides recommended limits on conductivity to prevent any chance of spark ignition. As an example, some military specifications require a fuel conductivity of 100 to 700 pS/m.

Filter elements are being made so that they are more easily disposed of by crushing and incineration and without the need for metal streaming, as the supporting core/shroud is contained within the housing and not the element. This has meant an increased use of polymers in filters and can result in a higher accumulated charge.

The combination of lower conductivity and higher accumulated charge has resulted in an increase in static discharge, namely a clicking noise as the charge discharges to the metal surfaces downstream of the filtration medium and burn marks on the plastic end caps and downstream polymeric drainage mesh.

It was the increased static discharge activity that prompted Pall Corporation to investigate the subject and conduct research on filter materials that would result in a lower charge. This development will be discussed in an upcoming issue of Practicing Oil Analysis magazine.

References

  1. Huber, P. and Sonin, A. “Theory of Charging in Liquid Hydrocarbon Fluids.” J. Colloid Interface Sci. 61, 109, (1977).

  2. Bensch, L. “Controlling Static Charge Effects with the Multi-Pass Test Through the Use Of an Alternative Fluid.” Presented to ISO TC131/SC8/WG9, (May 1993).

  3. Solomon, T. "Harmful Effects of Electrostatic Charges on Machinery and Lubricating Oils.” Institute of Petroleum, London, UK, (March 1959).

  4. Leonard, J. and Carhart, H. “Effect of Conductivity on Charge Generation in Hydrocarbon Fuels Flowing through Fiber Glass Filters.” J. Colloid Interface Sci. 32, 383, (1970).

  5. Huber, P. and Sonin, A. “Electric Charging in Liquid Hydrocarbon Filtration: A Comparison of Theory and Experiments.” J. Colloid Interface Sci. 61, 126, (1977).

  6. Bustin, W.. and Dukek, W. Electrostatic Hazards in the Petroleum Industry. Research Studies Press Ltd., England , (1983).

  7. ASTM D4865-91. "Standard Guide for Generation and Dissipation of Static Electricity in Petroleum Fuel Systems." American Society for Testing and Materials, (1991).

About the Author

Mike Day


About the Author

Leonard Bensch

Practicing Oil Analysis (11/2005)

Physicists pin down graphite’s magnetism

08 Oct 2009 Isabelle Dumé

Physicists in the Netherlands have confirmed that graphite is a permanent magnet at room temperature and have pinpointed where the high-temperature ferromagnetism comes from for the first time. The result could be important for a variety of applications in nanotechnology and engineering, such as biosensors, detectors and in spintronics.

Graphite is made up of stacks of individual carbon sheets (graphene) and is the familiar form of carbon found in pencils. Although ferromagnetism in graphite has been observed before, it has been difficult to understand where the weak magnetic signals come from. Indeed, some scientists believe that it might originate from tiny amounts of iron-rich impurities in the material, rather than from the carbon itself.

Now, Kees Flipse and colleagues at Eindhoven University of Technology and colleagues at Radboud University Nijmegen have shown that the magnetism occurs in the defect regions between the carbon layers. They did so using magnetic force microscopy (MFM) and scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), which allowed them to measure magnetic and electronic properties with nanometre (10-9 m) resolution.

Surface and bulk measurements

Magnetic microscopy scans a very sharp magnetic tip over a surface and measures the magnetic forces between sample and tip. This revealed ferromagnetism at defects on the graphite surface. For bulk measurements, Flipse’s team also employs a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometer – the most sensitive way to measure magnetic fields today.

Graphite consists of well ordered areas of carbon atoms separated by 2 nm wide boundaries of defects. The researchers found that the electrons in the defect regions behave differently to those in the ordered areas and instead resemble electrons in ferromagnetic materials, like iron and cobalt (see figure). They also discovered that the grain boundary regions in the individual carbon sheets are magnetically coupled and form 2D networks. This coupling explains why graphite is a permanent magnet.

“Pure, perfect single-crystal graphite is not a permanent magnet, but the situation changes when you create defects in the material,” Flipse told physicsworld.com. “Single defects in the graphite lattice behave as magnetic dipoles, similar to those in ferromagnetic atoms like iron.”

Biocompatible sensors

As well as being of fundamental interest, magnetic graphite will be important in engineering and nanotechnology. For example, it could be used to make biosensors, since carbon is biocompatible. It could also pave the way for carbon-based spintronics applications – devices that exploit the spin of an electron as well as its charge.

The Netherlands team will now study the role of defects in graphene to better understand the origins of the magnetism. “From a theoretical point of view, the next step would be to investigate the atomic and electronic structure of the grain boundaries in detail, and to develop a complete quantitative theory of the related magnetism,” said Flipse.

The results are reported in Nature Physics.

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