Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 61, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Liquid metal wheeled small vehicle for cargo delivery

Author affiliations


Miniaturized-vehicles are witnessing an increasing demand in many areas such as lab-on-chip, flexible fabrication, micro fluidics and small object manipulation. Lots of effort has therefore been made to build a small-scale, controllable, robust and adaptable carrying vehicle. To explore an alternative way, an innovative vehicle driven by liquid metal droplet “wheels” is presented with a geometric size in the millimeter scale. Unlike former trials, this vehicle is a movable structure composed of soft wheels and a rigid body. Such a hybrid construction adapts to multiple electrolytes especially NaOH solution. Under variable conditions of electrical voltages and channels, the present vehicle can be controlled precisely to achieve progression, steering and more complex locomotion. With a boat-like core body, the vehicle can take burdens up to 0.4 gram at a speed of about 25 mm s−1. More sophisticated vehicles with integrated manipulators and power supplies could still be built based on the current attempt. This kind of vehicle design realizes complex and accurate control as well as driving of a miniaturized robotic structure. The present finding may shed light on the construction of further complex miniaturized machines or robots in the future.

Graphical abstract: Liquid metal wheeled small vehicle for cargo delivery

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information

25 Apr 2016
03 Jun 2016
First published
06 Jun 2016

RSC Adv., 2016,6, 56482-56488
Article type

Liquid metal wheeled small vehicle for cargo delivery

Y. Y. Yao and J. Liu, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 56482
DOI: 10.1039/C6RA10629C

Social activity

Search articles by author