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Apple Continues Work on Liquidmetal Alloys for Use in Future Products

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple is investigating the use of Liquidmetal alloys to create various product parts using injection molding and 3D printing, according to five patent applications the company filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2012. (via Patently Apple).

Apple has been rumored to be experimenting with amorphous metal alloys, aka Liquidmetal, ever since the company signed an exclusive deal with California-based company Liquidmetal Technologies back in 2010. Liquidmetal alloys demonstrate a different molecular structure than traditional metals, which results in a stronger, harder substance that is also durable, thin, and moldable into unique shapes.

The patents are highly technical and describe methods of creating parts layer by layer using bulk metallic glasses, aka Liquidmetal alloys, as is done with 3D printing, which Apple suggests is quicker and less expensive than traditional machining of parts. According to the patent, 3D printing could be especially useful for visualization, demonstration, and mechanical prototyping, as well as the production of patterns for molds.

Apple's patents indicate that Liquidmetal alloys could be used within iPhones, iPads, iPods, and as part of a digital display or computer monitor. Apple also specifies potential uses in the Apple TV, remote controls, hard drive tower housings, laptop houses, keyboards, track pads, mouses, speakers, and a "device such as a watch or a clock."

Rumors have long suggested that Apple could use Liquidmetal in its device casings, allowing the company to create slimmer products that are highly resistant to wear. The former director of research at Liquidmetal Technologies claimed that Apple would eventually "make the iPhone out of it."

Following its deal with Liquidmetal Technologies, Apple began testing the manufacturing capabilities of the alloys by crafting the iPhone 3G's SIM eject tool from a Liquidmetal alloy. Though minor components have been constructed from Liquidmetal alloys, one of the original inventors of Liquidmetal suggested in 2012 that the use of the alloys in major components was still two to four years off.

Apple has, however, recently been awarded a patent on the mass production of amorphous metals, indicating that the company is continuing to make progress with the material.

Article Link: Apple Continues Work on Liquidmetal Alloys for Use in Future Products
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,525
253
Huh, is there any content in this article?

I read the whole thing and didn't see anything that isn't a rehash of old articles. I mean we know they're interested in "Liquidmetal" because they bought the company. Oh well, there goes 5 min of my lunch.
 

paradox22

macrumors newbie
Apr 15, 2011
20
0
Huh, is there any content in this article?

I read the whole thing and didn't see anything that isn't a rehash of old articles. I mean we know they're interested in "Liquidmetal" because they bought the company. Oh well, there goes 5 min of my lunch.

...so why would you bother to waste another minute or so to post a comment on how you wasted your time? Aren't you just wasting more time? :rolleyes:
 

Meandmunch

macrumors 6502
Jan 3, 2002
496
143
Liquid metal iPhones is the new Apple Unicorn. Talk, talk, talk… When my iPhone can shrink and grow and change shape at my command then i will believe it.
 

SBlue1

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2008
1,621
1,862
Liquid metal iPhones is the new Apple Unicorn. Talk, talk, talk… When my iPhone can shrink and grow and change shape at my command then i will believe it.

Liquidmetal is not liquid metal. :rolleyes: Its just a method for producing metal parts.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Liquid metal iPhones is the new Apple Unicorn. Talk, talk, talk… When my iPhone can shrink and grow and change shape at my command then i will believe it.

That might just happen. Liquid metal would be a perfect fit for those flexible screens that have started showing up recently. When you pick your iPhone up to your ear, it molds to the contours of your face for perfect comfort!

...just make sure not to leave it out in your car on a hot summer day, otherwise you'll be wet-dry vacuuming up $700 worth of awesome.

...also, don't lick the phone. Whatever you do. Don't. Lick. The. Phone. Heavy metal poisoning is a helluva thing.

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Liquidmetal is not liquid metal. :rolleyes: Its just a method for producing metal parts.

Okay, since you came in here and got all serious with the rolleyes emote, I guess I gotta reply in kind.

No, Liquid Metal isn't liquid metal. It won't be soft and pliant in your hands. That'd make for a terrible phone.

What it is is, like you said, aluminium that can be molded like plastic. Which means Apple will be saving a ton of money on the milling process in the near future.
 
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