Generation of liquid metal double emulsion droplets using gravity-induced microfluidics

RSC Adv. 2022 Jul 19;12(32):20686-20695. doi: 10.1039/d2ra04120k. eCollection 2022 Jul 14.

ABSTRACT

Several microfluidic applications are available for liquid metal droplet generation, but the surface oxidation of liquid metal has placed limitations on its application. Multiphase microfluidics makes it possible to protect the inner droplets by producing the structure of double emulsion droplets. Thus, the generation of liquid metal double emulsion droplets has been developed to prevent the surface oxidation of Galinstan. However, the generation using common methods faces considerable challenges due to the gravity effect introduced from the high density of liquid metal, making it difficult for the shell phase to wrap the inner phase. To overcome this obstacle, we introduce an innovative method – a gravity-induced microfluidic device – to creatively generate controllable liquid metal double emulsion droplets, achieved by altering the measurable inclination angle of the plane. It is found that when the inclination angle ranges from 30° to 45°, the device manages to generate liquid metal double emulsion droplets with perfect double sphere-type configuration. Additionally, the core-shell liquid metal hydrogel capsules present potential applications as multifunctional materials for controlled release systems in drug delivery and biomedical applications. By regulating pH or imposing mechanical force, the hydrogel shell can be dissolved to recover the electrical conductivity of Galinstan for applications in flexible electronics, self-healing conductors, elastomer electronic skin, and tumor therapy.

PMID:35919154 | PMC:PMC9295136 | DOI:10.1039/d2ra04120k

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