New Invention May End Age-Old Soldering

Makers of high-tech glue says it does same at room temperature
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2016 12:20 PM CST
New Invention May End Age-Old Soldering

The end of good old soldering? Researchers at Northeastern University say they've created a metallic glue that gets the same job done at room temperature. If MesoGlue works up to expectations, it "may change the way we make electronics," reports TechCrunch. Soldering—heating metal into molten form and using it to make things stick together—has been around thousands of years, notes a post at Motherboard. But it's painstaking, and the heat involved is a hazard both to hobbyists' fingers and to the electronics themselves. The new high-tech glue makes use of research into nanorods, "infinitesimally small rods with metal cores," the researchers explain in a post at Eureka Alert. One side of the rod is coated with the element indium, the other with galium.

"These coated rods are arranged along a sub­strate like angled teeth on a comb: There is a bottom ‘comb’ and a top ‘comb,'” writes Northeastern's Hanchen Huang. “We then inter­lace the ‘teeth.’" The two elements form a liquid when they touch, and "the resulting glue pro­vides the strength and thermal/electrical con­duc­tance of a metal bond." Put more simply: "It's like welding or soldering without the heat." But don't write off soldering just yet. A blog post at Technabob cautions that the one demo video currently available for MesoGlue is "oversimplified," and Motherboard notes that "lead remains as cheap as ever." No word yet on when the patented MesoGlue might hit the market. (More discoveries stories.)

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