Viscoelastic properties of oxide-coated liquid metals


Larsen, R. J. ; Dickey, M. D. ; Whitesides, G. M. ; Weitz, D. A. Viscoelastic properties of oxide-coated liquid metals. Journal of Rheology 2009, 53, 1305-1326. Copy at
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Many liquid metals exposed to air develop an oxide film on their outer surface. This film is sufficiently solid-like to provide mechanical stability to small liquid metal droplets, yet weak enough to allow the droplets to be malleable. These properties are useful in both micro-electronics and microfluidics; however, little is known about how to characterize them. Here we probe the elastic, yielding, and relaxation properties of oxide-coated gallium and eutectic gallium indium using a rheometer equipped with a parallel-plate geometry. By using parallel plates of different size, we show that surface stresses dominate bulk stresses. These experiments also demonstrate that the apparent elastic properties of the oxide film are highly sensitive to its strain history. Moreover, the apparent elasticity is sensitive to the stresses stored in the oxide skin. We probe these stresses and their time-dependence, with both torque and normal force measurements. We also characterize the time-dependence of the elasticity by observing free vibrations of the rheometer. We rationalize the strain history and time-dependence in terms of oxidation and show that despite this dependence, reproducible elasticity measurements can be obtained due to the ability of shear to produce a state that is independent of the strain history. (C) 2009 The Society of Rheology. [DOI: 10.1122/1.3236517]


Times Cited: 15

Last updated on 04/15/2014