A team of Boston scientists have developed a new “metal” glue that could provide a simple method for connecting metal components to one another. Prof. Hanchen Huang led a team from Boston’s Northeastern University to develop MesoGlue, a solvent that can bond metal to metal.
Traditional methods of joining two metal objects, such as welding and soldering, risk causing heat damage to circuitry or electronic components, or even explosions when dealing with gas pipes, so MesoGlue (seen above, holding a CPU to a heat sink), which bonds at room temperature, could revolutionise metal joining and repair. The compound contains microscopic nanorods that contain a metal core, some coated with indium, and others with gallium.
“When you mash the heads of the brushes together, all the little bristles push past each other so the two brushes are basically stuck together,” PhD student/co-inventor Paul Elliott explained to Gizmag. “The interlacing process is fairly similar in our glue. The bristles are spaced well enough so they can slide or be pressed in between each other.”
The indium and gallium form a liquid on contact, which then hardens as the metallic cores of the rods react with the liquid. Once the compound becomes solid, it offers a bonding solution that matches the strength of welding or soldering.
“The metallic glue has multiple applications, many of them in the electronics industry,” Huang said. “As a heat conductor, it may replace the thermal grease currently being used, and as an electrical conductor, it may replace today’s solders. Particular products include solar cells, pipe fittings, and components for computers and mobile devices.”
MesoGlue will soon become a commercial product, Elliott adds, saying, “We are working on turning this into a liquid form that will make the process just like a glue or epoxy that you would use at home.”