Apple-Liquidmetal Joint Patent Could Enable Futuristic-Looking Mobile Devices

Apple may be closer than previously thought to using Liquidmetal’s technology to manufacture casings for its mobile devices. In a patent filing, a company called “Crucible Intellectual Properties, LLC” (which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liquidmetal dedicated to Apple work) laid claim to a manufacturing process for creating “bulk amorphous alloy sheets”, also known as bulk metallic glass (BMG).

The process, called “float glass”, involves two layers of molten metal, and the result is a glass-like metal that allegedly would be strong, incredibly lightweight, corrosion-resistant--and low cost. Further, the manufacturing process would ostensibly make it far easier to create specific items, as it removes some of the barriers and issues related to forming and cutting metal, and specifically BMG.

Float glass process than Apple may use in future devices

For the record, no, this is not a process for creating liquid metal objects that can change shape in your hand, or anything of the sort. However, assuming the patent is put into use soon, we’ll be seeing devices from Apple constructed from a type of material we haven’t seen much of before, and it may be quite beautiful. (Liquidmetal technology has reportedly been used in Apple device components before, such as hinges, but never for a larger item such as a casing.)

Float glass process than Apple may use in future devices

The patent filing claims that a float plant (the type of facility that would make the material) that operates for 10-15 years nonstop could make 6000km of BMG each year in thicknesses ranging from 0.1mm to 25mm at a width of 3m.