“Could upcoming Apple products feature a futuristic material from an Orange County company? The inclusion of a super-strong alloy invented by Rancho Santa Margarita-based Liquidmetal Technologies in future Apple products has been speculated for more than two years since the company entered into an exclusive and perpetual agreement with the Cupertino-based gadget maker,” Ian Hamilton reports for The Orange County Register. “The exclusive deal in consumer electronics was revealed through an SEC filing in August 2010, catching the eyes of Apple-focused bloggers and news sites who have continually speculated about the inclusion of the technology in upcoming gadgets.”

“Liquidmetal Technologies came out of research at the California Institute of Technology. The technology involves mixing certain elements and then heating and cooling them under very specific conditions to give them a desired structure at the atomic level. This structure is more like glass than metal and results in superior strength, hardness, elasticity as well as resistance to corrosion and wear,” Hamilton reports. “Liquidmetal’s alloy, a combination of mostly zirconium and titanium, ends up being twice as strong as titanium while being able to be molded into shape during production like plastics.”

Hamilton reports, “On the date of the agreement with Apple on Aug. 5, 2010, however, the company paid off nearly $11 million in debt, turned its business into a licensing and partnership operation and brought on a new CEO, Thomas W. Steipp. The total amount Apple paid has not been made public… Steipp suggests the industry for these new alloys is still in its infancy and points to ongoing research at universities into similar alloys as proof there is a bright future for the technology. Liquidmetal makes bold claims about its technology, suggesting it is the third revolution in material sciences following steel and plastics… For a company like Apple, Liquidmetal could mean thinner, lighter parts that are stronger than if they were made with existing materials. That could mean more room for components inside a device or smaller, lighter gadgets overall.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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