Magnetic poop scientists have invented a moving mucus that can be used in the human digestive system

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have created a mobile magnetic goo that can wrap itself around small objects, self-repair, and “deform very strongly” to compress and move through narrow spaces.

The slime, controlled by magnets, is also a good conductor of electricity and can be used to connect electrodes, say its creators.

On social media, the dark-colored magnetic blob was compared to Flubber, the eponymous substance from the 1997 sci-fi film, and called “magnetic shit”, “awesome and a little scary”.

Professor Li Zhang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one of the creators of the slime, stressed that the substance is real scientific research and not an April Fool’s joke, despite the timing of its release.

The slime contains magnetic particles, so it can be manipulated to move, rotate, or form O- and C-shapes when external magnets are applied to it.

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Functional Materials dubbed the bead a “magnetic slime robot.”

“The ultimate goal is to deploy it as a robot,” Zhang said, adding that at the moment the slime does not have autonomy. “We still consider it fundamental research – trying to understand its material properties.”

According to Zhang, slime has “viscoelastic properties,” meaning that “sometimes it behaves like a solid, sometimes like a liquid.”

It is made from a mixture of a polymer called polyvinyl alcohol, borax, which is widely used in cleaning products, and neodymium magnet particles.

“It’s very similar to mixing water with [corn]starch at home,” Zhang said. When these two substances are mixed, an ooblec is formed – a non-Newtonian liquid, the viscosity of which changes under the action of a force.

“When you touch it very quickly, it behaves like a solid. When you touch it gently and slowly, it behaves like a liquid,” Zhang said.

While the team does not plan to test it in a medical setting anytime soon, the scientists suggest that the mucus may be beneficial in the digestive system, such as reducing harm from a small, swallowed battery.

“To avoid leakage of toxic electrolytes, we can use such a slime encapsulation robot to form some kind of inert coating,” he said.

However, the magnetic particles in the mucus are themselves toxic. The researchers coated the slime with a layer of silica – the main component of sand – to form a hypothetical protective layer.

“Safety [will] also depend a lot on how long you keep them inside your body,” Zhang said.

Zhang added that pigments or dyes could be used to make the slime, which currently has an opaque brown-black tint, a brighter color.


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