Materials used to make modern electronic products are very different and have their own pros and cons. Plastic is inexpensive, but not durable; glass is fragile; aluminum and stainless steel are hard to produce in complex shapes. According to the inventor of liquidmetal, a family of amorphous alloys that combine advantages of the aforementioned, the new material could be a solution for future electronics devices, but only several years down the road.
Liquidmetal, which is currently used in various medical, military, industrial, sports and technical applications, can be cast in various forms and will maintain good look, superior strength, scratch and corrosion resistance and other advantages, e.g. relative light weight. Unfortunately, mass manufacturing infrastructure is currently not ready for liquidmetals. Although Apple has bought exclusive rights to use liquidmetals in its PCs, phones, tablets and other electronics, it will take hundreds of millions of dollars and several years before the company starts to use the new material in large scale.
"I would not say Liquidmetal was perfected. This is a technology that has yet to be matured and perfected both in manufacturing process and application development. I should note that this is a completely new and different metal technology. Therefore, there is no suitable manufacturing infrastructure yet to take full advantage of this alloy technology. For example, I estimate that Apple will likely spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million - and three to five years - to mature the technology before it can used in large scale," said Atakan Peker, one of the inventors of the Liquidmetal alloy, in an interview with Business Insider web-site.
There are several instances of liquidmetal usages in personal technology: Apple used the material for SIM-removing pin, Nokia and Samsung made flip phones of liquid metal. At present Apple uses aluminum to create cases for MacBook laptops, but since it involves milling cutter, it is very hard and expensive to produce them in volume. Liquidmetal could help, but at present it is not ready for it.
"First evolutionary substitution of current materials and secondly, and more importantly, in a breakthrough product made only possible by Liquidmetal technology. Apple’s exclusively licensing a new material technology (specifically for casing and enclosures) is a first in the industry. This is very exciting. Therefore, I expect Apple to use this technology in a breakthrough product. Such product will likely bring an innovative user interface and industrial design together, and will also be very difficult to copy or duplicate with other material technologies," added Mr. Peker.
Tags: Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Liquidmetal
Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 05/09/12 10:02:55 AM
Latest comment: 05/11/12 03:02:08 AM
This "revolutionary" alloy technology was already used in tennis racquets as early as 2003
The new Liquidmetal Radical, the latest addition to the Radical series of racquets from Head, introduces a new material to racquet construction. Liquidmetal, a metal with the atomic structure of a liquid, was developed by the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). According to Liquidmetal.com, Liquidmetal alloy provides 29% more power than Titanium.
Since then in a decade modern tennis racquets use even more sophisticated tech. But you can already anticipate Apple innovating with 10 year old tech......and of course they invented it first! ... lulz
05/09/12 10:02:55 AM]
Damn you Apple. Another innovation bought by Apple so that no one else can benefit from it. I don't see how this can be good for average consumers or even Apple users in the long run. And I know, Apple is hardly the only one buying out innovations.
Keep you money to yourself, would you? Sheesh...
05/09/12 12:44:30 PM]
The Terminator T-1000 Advanced Prototype
was made of liquid metal
, plus he traveled back in time. This proves Apple's going in the right way, at least with materials (time traveling may take a bit longer)... One thing i wonder about: will Terminators have Intel or Apple microchips ?
05/09/12 05:49:08 PM]
Is this the next stage for 3d printing?
05/10/12 02:49:25 AM]
Liquid Medal Men are just around the corner now.
05/10/12 12:27:39 PM]
Liquid metal is just a marketing crap name. Common!!!
05/11/12 03:02:08 AM]
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