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Engineers develop 'chameleon metals' that change surfaces in response to heat

[2020.01.13, Mon 16:03] Just like a chameleon changes its skin color in response to its environment, engineers have found a way for liquid metal - and potentially solid metal - to change its surface structure in response to heat. Treating particles of liquid metal alloys with heat causes them to roughen their surfaces with tiny spheres or nanowires, Iowa State University engineers reported in a paper featured on the cover of the Jan. 2 issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie. Eventually the surface breaks, allowing the liquid metal inside to come to the surface. "That's why we say they're chameleon metals - but responding to heat, not to color as the reptile does." "This is a behavior of metals in general. Other metals subject to the same treatment should do this. This is a universal property of metals." That could make chameleon metals a very interesting and useful technology: "When you talk about smart materials, polymers come to mind," Thuo said. "But metals can do this, too. But it's a big beast - you just need to know how to tame it."
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