A team led by Prof. Hanchen Huang of Northeastern University has discovered a new way to merge metals at room temperature, without heat by developing a new material called ‘MesoGlue’. Soldering techniques have improved a lot and in large scale circuit board production, most parts of it have been automated. But one thing has remained unchanged throughout the evolution of circuit boards; the hot solder. There has never been another way to attach electronic components to a PCB without melting iron.
Err, no, you don’t melt iron to make solder. Tin or bismuth, maybe.
MesoGlue is a combination of metal and glue. The creators have used metallic nanorods with cores coated with elements Indium and Galium on either side of the two surfaces that need to be joined. When the two surfaces come in contact, the nanorods are interlocked, and form a liquid which is solidified by the core of the rods.
That sounds interesting. Ga melts at just above room temperature. And I think I’m right in saying that some In/Ga mixtures are liquid at room temperature. Think, not sure.
If I’m right about that then this is an interesting exploitation of a known effect, rather than something entirely new. And also as such that patent it going to be pretty limited in its application.
I’d also be very wary of predicting widespread adoption.
Tin is, umm, $20k a tonne these days? Ga is $500k a tonne, In $800k? All numbers from imperfect memory but about right I think. Have to be a hell of a performance upgrade to justify those costs. And then of course there’s supply: there’s again from memory, some 50k tonnes of Sn a year used, global production of Ga is maybe 400 tonnes, Indium not a great deal more.
Wouldn’t say this is going to go mass market right now really.