Apple and Liquidmetal scientists granted new patent that could enable Liquidmetal production on a massive scale

Apple and Liquidmetal scientists today have been granted a patent (U.S. Patent 8485245) on “Bulk amorphous alloy sheet forming processes” by adopting a float glass process – commonly used for the production of window glass in bulk – and optimizing it for the production of bulk metallic glass (BMG).

This new process invention could enable Liquidmetal production on a massive scale: “A float plant, which operates non-stop for between 10-15 years, could make around 6000 kilometers of BMG glass a year in thicknesses of 0.1 mm to 25 mm, more preferably 0.4 mm to 15 mm and in widths up to 3 meters, for example,” the patent filing states.

Inventors listed, plus where they work in brackets:
• Prest, Christopher D. (Cupertino, CA, US) – [Apple]
• Poole, Joseph C. (Cupertino, CA, US) [Apple]
• Stevick, Joseph (Glendora, CA, US) [Liquidmetal]
• Waniuk, Theodore Andrew (Lake Forest, CA, US) [Liquidmetal]
• Pham, Quoc Tran (Anaheim, CA, US) [Liquidmetal]

The patent filing also states, verbatim:

The embodiments herein can be valuable in the fabrication of electronic devices using a BMG. An electronic device herein can refer to any electronic device known in the art. For example, it can be a telephone, such as a cell phone, and a land-line phone, or any communication device, such as a smart phone, including, for example an iPhone™, and an electronic email sending/receiving device. It can be a part of a display, such as a digital display, a TV monitor, an electronic-book reader, a portable web-browser (e.g., iPad™), and a computer monitor. It can also be an entertainment device, including a portable DVD player, conventional DVD player, Blue-Ray [sic] disk player, video game console, music player, such as a portable music player (e.g., iPod™), etc. It can also be a part of a device that provides control, such as controlling the streaming of images, videos, sounds (e.g., Apple TV™), or it can be a remote control for an electronic device. It can be a part of a computer or its accessories, such as the hard drive tower housing or casing, laptop housing, laptop keyboard, laptop track pad, desktop keyboard, mouse, and speaker. The article can also be applied to a device such as a watch or a clock.

Read more in the filing here.

MacDailyNews Take: Boom?

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Liquidmetal ships first amorphous alloy production parts – November 16, 2012
Liquidmetal Technologies Inc. and Materion announce sales channel collaboration – September 7, 2012
Futuristic Liquidmetal alloy could transform Apple products – August 15, 2012
Why did Apple lock in Liquidmetal for two more years? – June 25, 2012
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Apple’s recent huge investments in plants and equipment for Liquidmetal use in iOS devices, Macs? – May 22, 2012
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  1. This is the HUGE breakthrough needed to produce iPhone casings and especially the iWatch. Think of it – ultra thin – scratch proof – hard as a diamond. Samsung can’t copy it since Apple has exclusive rights for electronic devices.

    1. 6000 kilometers, three meters wide, is about the surface area of 100M iPhone 5s.

      Perhaps this would allow them to create a higher priced premium iPhone which would then make room for mid-range and lower range phones.

  2. This patent, as described, will for the first time enable mass production of low-cost amorphous metal, Liquidmetal, to which Apple owns the rights for electronic devices of all kinds in perpetuity.

  3. Wonder how this compares with that stuff MS announced a few days ago……something about “Transparent Aluminium”?

    MDN…why the question mark after “Boom”? Did you mean “BOOM!”?

      1. I don’t think transparent aluminum is very durable. However, durability is not a requirement for MS products that sit on the shelf and then get cancelled.

        1. The most important material property for M$ and Samsung products is the ability to easily recycle them. This reduces the quantity of landfill waste and supports the manufacturing of something that is actually useful.

    1. The Microsoft item is TRANSLUCENT Aluminum, not transparent aluminum.

      The former is a less expensive variant of sapphire (an aluminum oxide that can be transparent but is quite expensive to make as compared to most materials used in consumer electronics).

      The latter is a hypothetical material from Star Trek that has better physical properties than sapphire but is much less expensive and less difficult to manufacture. (No one has figured out yet how to make three foot wide sheets of sapphire let alone such a sheet that is six kilometers long.)

      The two are quite different.

    1. Technically they could, but that would not negate the contractual obligation between Apple and Liquidmetal giving Apple exclusive rights to the use of the technology for consumer electronic devices.

  4. We will copy anything, everything Apple innovated, We’ll keep an eyes on Apple day and night. We’ll release our copy-cat products one month after Apple new products.

    1. @Another failure:
      Don’t be so harsh on yourself! We don’t think of you as a failure. Just ill-informed, brash, and inexperienced with worldly things. Finish school, launch your career, and develop another method of high speed interconnects between a CPU and peripherals. Good fortune!

    2. Are you really that ignorant and stupid? Really? Thunderbolt is just a connector, anything you can think of that’s used in Apple devices that is opaque, like the metal, glass or plastic parts can be made from Liquidmetal. Only the biggest fool would discount the importance of this development. It’s almost impervious to damage, a MacBook Air or Pro with a case formed from this, or an iPad, iPod Touch, would be very rigid and scratch-resistant. The only failure here is you.

    3. Thunderbolt is a technology developed by INTEL! you dumb dumb. F-F-F-F!!!!! You Fail! Go back to studying. Oh, sorry, you don’t know what that is.

  5. “We’ve learned and struggled for a few centuries here figuring out how to make a decent watch. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

  6. Reading between the lines this patent is very interesting. The italic section of the article reads almost like Apple are describing vaguely the functions of a new device made with liquid metal technology – perhaps the fully fledged Apple TV?

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