Apple-Liquidmetal Collaboration Awarded Patent on Process for Mass Production of Amorphous Metals

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    Back in 2010, Apple signed an agreement with Caltech spinoff Liquidmetal Technologies, giving Apple exclusive access to the firm's unique metal alloys for consumer electronics applications. Liquidmetal's "amorphous metal alloys", sometimes referred to as "metallic glass" due to their non-crystalline molecular structures, offer several advantages over many other metals, including superior strength and durability. Apple had quietly tested Liquidmetal by using it in the SIM card eject tool for the iPhone 3G, but the material has yet to make any additional appearances in Apple's products.

    The agreement between Apple and Liquidmetal funneled the covered intellectual property through a subsidiary known as Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, and Liquidmetal is required to submit all of its newly developed intellectual property to that subsidiary through at least February 2014.

    [​IMG]
    As pointed out by MacDailyNews, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesterday issued a patent assigned to Crucible covering processes for mass producing thin sheets of amorphous metal alloys, suggesting that Apple and Liquidmetal are indeed making progress with the material. Of the five inventors listed on the patent, which was filed in May 2012, two are Apple product design engineers and three are engineers at Liquidmetal Technologies.
    The patent describes how molten BMG could be continuously poured onto a shallow bath of molten tin, where it would flow to form a sheet. The thickness of the sheets would be controlled by the speed at which cooling BMG is removed from the tin bath. The patent specifically claims that such a float plant could operate continuously for 10-15 years, producing approximately 6,000 kilometers of BMG per year in thicknesses ranging from 0.1 mm to 25 mm and widths up to 3 meters.

    Rumors of Liquidmetal's alloys being used for Apple's iPhone have surfaced a number of times, but last year Liquidmetal's Atakan Peker noted that Apple was unlikely to use the alloys as major design materials for at least 2-4 years due to the production scale needed for such parts as MacBook casings. With yesterday's patent, however, it does appear that Apple and Liquidmetal may have developed processes to overcome that hurdle.

    Article Link: Apple-Liquidmetal Collaboration Awarded Patent on Process for Mass Production of Amorphous Metals
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    chumawumba

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    #2
    Don't worry. Samsung will make a watch out of liquidmetal soon enough.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Four oF NINE

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    #3
    This is a fascinating development, but what would be the advantage over billet aluminum?
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #4
    Sweet. I anxiously await the day when I can drop my iPhone and it splatters into a liquidmetal puddle only to slowly reform back into an iPhone a la the T1000. Make it happen, Apple :cool:

    Only, Samsung's cheap knockoff version will likely be mercury and end up killing half its owners.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    Mad Mac Maniac

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    #5
    It's possible to see the iPhone 6 and iWatch with liquidmetal now... but when do you think we'll see liquidmetal macbook airs?

    ----------

    uhh Apple has the exclusive rights to all consumer liquidmetal products
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    ValSalva

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    #6
    This tech is amazing.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    keysofanxiety

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    #7
    Definitely. Be careful, though; all we need is one analyst to pull out a rumour about a liquidmetal iCyborg, and Samsung will come out with this:

    [​IMG]

    TL;DR: Samsung=Skynet? :eek:
     
  8. macrumors 65832

    Tankmaze

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    #8
    Hopefully apple use this material in the next iphone to minimize the weak and bent aluminium iphone 5.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Solomani

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    #9
    So can my future iMac morph into a Terminator T1000? Or can Terminators morph into iMacs? :confused:
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Come on Apple!

    Microsoft use it in their Surface tablets BTW.
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    Santabean2000

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    #11
    For the iPhone 6, anyone..?

    "Apple doesn't innovate, my a**"
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    Solomani

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    #12
    LOL taking shortcuts to get to market faster. :D
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    street.cory

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    #13
    Hopefully this Liquidmetal strikes the right balance of weight and strength. Holding and iPhone 4/4S next to an iPhone 5, you appreciate the aluminum. However, it dents fairly easily.

    Looking forward to it.
     
  14. macrumors regular

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    #14
    Amazing for a company with $21 million in market cap. I wonder why someone doesn't buy them already (unless that speaks to something about their product).
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    keysofanxiety

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    #15
    Well at least they'd be a little sturdier. I'd be quite happy knowing that my iMac could take a shotgun to the face.

    Unfortunately, after checking my sources, they're probably still susceptible to water damage ... [​IMG]
     
  16. macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I thought it's already used in some consumer products... Samsung made liquid metal parts for their phones a few years ago (I think).

    .
     
  17. macrumors 601

    Joined:
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    #17
    Because they might have an agreement with Apple that prevents such a buyout. There might be a clause in the agreement that says if the company gets an offer, they must entertain it to Apple first and Apple reserves the right to buy them out at the same price.
     
  18. macrumors member

    ridwan47

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    #18
    Did you say 'Liquidmetal' .. ??

    [​IMG]
     
  19. macrumors 601

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    #19
    Yea, Samsung used some Liquidmetal components back in '02 but Apple got the exclusive agreements years after that.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    decimortis

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    #20
    Somebody should post a Terminator reference...

    D.
     
  21. macrumors G5

    gnasher729

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    #21
    Are you claiming that Samsung would copy a technology to which Apple owns the patents? Surely they wouldn't do that.
     
  22. macrumors 601

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    #22
    Not only is it unconfirmed yet if it was the iPhone, it could've been a knockoff charger. China has a known major problem where people are buying cheap knockoff chargers and using them with smartphones that has a super-high risk of exploding, sparking fires, and so on.
     
  23. mbh
    macrumors 6502

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    #23
    So, why do they want to make large sheets of this material? I thought one of the advantages of Liquid Metal is that it can be molded into complex shapes eliminating the need to machine it. Are they going to cut up these sheets and then machine them into product? Were they not able to figure out how to mold large complex pieces? Or, is this just something they figured out how to do so they figured they might as well patent it?
     
  24. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #24
    Who said Apple owns it? Apple doesn't own any patents here. Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC owns all of the patents here.

    The question is, how much ownership does Apple have of Crucible, and what's the deal on it.
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
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    Chicago
    #25
    Terminator reference? Apple IS Skynet!

    First they came for my CD player and I was happy
    Then they came for books and I was happy but cautious
    Soon they will be coming for my TV and now I KNOW soon they will be plugging ME IN!
    :eek:
    :apple:
     

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