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Metallic glue that may replace soldering and welding

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New Delhi | Monday, Jan 11 2016 IST
 
Researcher specialising in nanotechnology have developed a glue that binds metal to metal to glass to you-name-it, sets at room temperature, and requires little pressure to seal.In a paper, published in the January issue of Advanced Materials & Processes, Hanchen Huang and colleagues, including Northeastern doctoral student Paul Elliott, describe their latest advances in the glue's development.They have also launched a startup and their company website declares: "MesoGlue was founded by Huang and two of his PhD students; they had a dream of a better way of sticking things together."Those "things" are everything from a computer's central processing unit and a printed circuit board to the glass and metal filament in a light bulb. The "way" of attaching them is, astonishingly, a glue made out of metal that sets at room temperature and requires very little pressure to seal. "It's like welding or soldering but without the heat," says Huang, who is professor and chair in the Universitys Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Curious we asked Huang: Soldering with no heat? "Both 'metal' and 'glue' are familiar terms to most people, but their combination is new and made possible by unique properties of metallic nanorods - infinitesimally small rods with metal cores that we have coated with the element indium on one side and galium on the other, explains. These coated rods, he said, are arranged along a substrate like angled teeth on a comb: There is a bottom 'comb' and a top 'comb.' We then interlace the 'teeth,' he goes on to elaborate. When indium and galium touch each other, they form a liquid [and] the metal core of the rods acts to turn that liquid into a solid. The resulting glue, he adds, provides the strength and thermal/electrical conductance of a metal bond. The standard polymer glue does not function at high temperatures or high pressures, but the metallic glue does. The standard glue is not a great conductor of heat and/?or electricity, but the metallic glue is. Furthermore, the standard glue is not very resistant to air or gas leaks, but the metallic glue is.Hot' processes like soldering and welding can result in metallic connections that are similar to those produced with the metallic glue, but they cost much more. In addition, the high temperature necessary for these processes has deleterious effects on neighbouring components, such as junctions in semiconductor devices. Such effects can speed up failure and not only increase cost but also prove dangerous to users, says the scientist.The metallic glue, he says, has multiple applications, many of them in the electronics industry. As a heat conductor, it may replace the thermal grease currently being used, and as an electrical conductor, it may replace today's solders. These products include solar cells, pipe fittings, and components for computers and mobile devices.UNI YSG SV 0845

-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0137-531859.Xml

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