A new material created by Cornell University researchers that’s solid when wet and liquid when dry. It’s a new variety of hydrogel so soft that it can flow like a liquid and then, strangely, return to its original shape. Image credit: Cornell University/Luo Lab
Above image: Hydrogels made in the form of the letters D, N and A collapse into a liquid-like state on their own but return to the original shape when surrounded by water.
The most important with the liquid hydrogel, is that remembers its shape! Like the Terminator T-1000.
The new hydrogel qualifies as a “metamaterial” with properties not found in nature and may be the first with mechanical meta-properties.
It’s a mesh of organic molecules with many small empty spaces that can absorb water like a sponge.
Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering in Cornell University and colleagues describe their creation:
“During this process they entangle, and the entanglement produces a 3-D network. But the result was not what they expected: The hydrogel they made flows like a liquid, but when placed in water returns to the shape of the container in which it was formed. This was not by design.”
Under an electron microscope the material is revealed to consist of tiny “bird’s nests” of tangled DNA, top, which are tied together by more DNA stands into a mass, bottom.
source Cornell University