Carbon Fibre iPad soon? - New Apple Patent.

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Piggie, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
  2. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    Just another concept. There's no indication that they're going to use it, just that they ran through the exercise (and patent application).

    The back panel is about 5 ounces. Switching up to a liquid metal alloy might shave that down 15%; carbon fiber, maybe a tad more (it still requires a frame of some sort under the carbon fiber) so we're talking about an ounce.

    Just another of the 100 or so ideas that get pushed aside for every one that gets used.
  3. Piggie thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010

    Working with metals myself though, I know just how terrible using Aluminium is for something that could get knocked about a bit.

    Even plastic would take more knocks and still look perfect, and I've seen enough photo's of Macbooks with dents in them where someone has knocked the corner of their $1000+ device against something and spoiled it.

    I know there is a hatred towards plastic as people feel it's cheap despite being a better material for the use it's put to.

    Carbon fibre would probably keep those people happy as it's perceived to be special still (snob value) and it would actually be far stronger than soft Aluminium. It would not act as a heat sink of course, but I guess that can be overcome.
  4. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Unless they can figure out a way to manufacture precision parts using carbon fiber, I doubt they will switch to it. Apple has already discussed why thy like using aluminum. Besides, carbon is an insulator and will tend to retain heat.
  5. Piggie thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Seems good enough to me to make a case shape out of.

    If you Google "Carbon Fibre" you can find a lot of very nice detailed things now being make from this great light and strong material.
  6. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

    Mar 12, 2010
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Carbon Fiber would be an interesting pick. I wonder how rigid it would be though. The aluminum casing adds a lot of support to the iPad's glass screen.

    Sedulous' point about aluminum's role in heat dissipation is very true also. It's one of the reasons Apple gets away with such small svelte enclosures. They can duct heat out through the entire skin of the product.
  7. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Carbon fiber is more stiff than aluminum. But I don't see it ever being machined in the fine ways that apple currently requires for the unibody Macs. However, unlike aluminum, carbon fiber cracks rather than dents. You do not want a carbon fiber splinter... they don't come out easy!
  8. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Carbon Fiber is a material that comes in many grades. If Apple should decide to use it, I would have no hesitation in buying the product. It would most certainly be more dent resistant, and damage resistant than anything Apple has used to date. I have an X505 Sony Vaio in CF, I bought when in Japan. After a few years of international travel & very heavy use, it's still cosmetically perfect. Super light, it makes my new 11" MBA seem heavy. Simply amazing :)
  9. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    I'm not a materials science person or anything, but there are downsides to carbon fiber too. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "many grades". Carbon fiber is brittle. In fact, the harder you make it, the more brittle it becomes. Remember, it starts out as a sort of "plastic" that gets burned, leaving behind a carbon backbone. These are gathered up to form tighter bundles then eventually mixed with epoxy and shaped to form. There is nothing magic about it.
  10. BergerFan, Nov 21, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010

    BergerFan macrumors 68020


    Mar 6, 2008
    Mos Eisley
    Carbon fibre gives you at least the strength of steel(usually more), for at least 1/5 of the weight.
    The only disadvantage to using carbon fibre I can see, is the price - as it can be expensive, relative to aluminium.
    It's used extensively throughout the aerospace and motor racing industry, providing unrivalled structural rigidity to chassis' and components.
    If the current iPad's back was made from carbon fibre, the whole device's weight would probably br close to a current kindle, with more strength then the current iPad has now.
    That would make the device seem even more magical. :p
  11. Piggie thread starter macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    To be honest, I don't think Carbon Fibre really is that more expensive.

    I think it's more "Marketed" to be more expensive as it's all high tech and fancy and, Ohhhh impressive.

    Like Titanium is all, Ohhhh, wow...........

    When in fact the real cos in the grand scheme of things is not really worth worrying about.

    Carbon Fibre has a high tech image as it's used to high end racing cars etc.

    My mate used to make bits for model panes from Carbon Fibre over 10 years ago.

    Just bought the sheets and resin online, made it into the shape he wanted and baked it in his normal home oven, then did some filing and sanding into the wing and prop shapes he wanted.

    All very low tech really.

    You can buy sheets of Carbon Fibre matting on ebay very cheap.

    You just need the mould to lay it in, the resin and to bake it.
  12. craig1410 macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2007
    If you work with metals then I'm sure you realise that Aluminium alloys come in many forms, some of which are very strong and only a fraction of the weight of steel or Titanium. For example Alloy 7075-T6 has an ultimate tensile strength of up to 538MPa and density of 2810Kg/m^3. This compares favourably with Titanium which has and ultimate tensile strength of 434MPa and density of 4506Kg/m^3. So the aluminium alloy is 24% stronger and just 62% as heavy as Titanium.

    Many of us will be familiar with the Maglite torches which are typically made from 6061 alloy which has been anodised. I've had a 4xD cell version of the Maglite for many years and despite having been used and abused many times it is still as good as new with few signs of scratches or dents. I reckon I could drive my car over it without damaging it!

    Alloy 2024 is primarily used in aircraft construction and is also very tough which it would have to be to stand the stresses on items like the undercarriage and wing spars.

    When you couple the strength with the excellent heat-sink capabilities, Aluminium is a great material for something like the iPad's enclosure. I for one don't want to go back to having vents and fans to keep the electronics cool or to have then getting uncomfortably hot because the heat can't escape freely. If Apple were to change away from aluminium then Liquidmetal would be my preference.

    Carbon fibre would make a nice hard-case though!
  13. Alvi macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2008
    guys, Carbon Fiber is strong, that doesn't mean it's unscratchable, and we are more likely to scaratch than to dent stuff, I like the idea, but it would probably be more expensive and would also look after a scratch if it gets painted, and apple wouldn't use naked carbon fibre
  14. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    There are a couple of problems with Carbon Fibre - it blocks radio waves. So if the iPad were to be made of CF, then there would either need to be plastic or metal inserts for the antennae, or it will be hidden behind the black bezel.

    It is also more labour intensive than aluminium (well, at least when it comes to making bicycles and bicycle parts, so I'm just assuming that this wil also be the case for gadget parts).

    CF is also a very expensive material - it is in very high demand, especially since Boeing decided to make their "Dreamliner" out of it. But it is used in the automotive, bicycle, aerospace and weapon industries (to name a few!) but there are only 3 or 4 factories worldwide capable of producing CF. CF has even become subject to speculative trading! It is therefore not really subject to the rules of "economies of scale" which makes it an awkward material for mass production.
  15. glossywhite macrumors 65816


    Feb 28, 2008
    Yes, you are right - and aluminium doesn't block radio waves, after all, not being a conductor, ya know? :rolleyes:
  16. xkRoWx macrumors regular


    Oct 15, 2007
    You guys are missing the point.

    Food for thought: Apple also bought Liquidmetal. Combine CF and LiquidMetal and thing should get very interesting.

    I think I just wet my pants a little. :)
  17. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    Aluminium does conduct, whereas CF soaked in resin doesn't unless it is very thin. There is a reason why the Moncase CF backplate for the iPad has holes along the top edge.

    So yes, you can make CF thin enough to allow for radio use, but would it be thick enough (i.e. sturdy enough) to survive daily use like the current metal backing? From my understanding, it's a continuum with very light and excellent transmission qualities, yet very thin and brittle at one end and super sturdy but not so light or transmissive at the other.

    That thought crossed my mind too, but the discussion had until now been about a purely CF iPad. I think the combination of LM and CF is going to happen because it allows for easier manufacturing IMO - create a super thin shell with LM which requires no manual labour for finishing, but strengthen it with a super thin layer of CF which shouldn't have an adverse effect on RF translucency. As the CF would be on the inside it won't require any labour to ensure a pretty finish.
  18. csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
    I don't think anybody's mentioned recyclability. How recyclable is carbon fiber? Seems like that's a big selling point of all Apple's products these days.

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