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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Harder, better, faster, stronger

Allow me to introduce one of the most curious and exciting technological innovations yet: Liquidmetal. Developed by material engineers at the California Institute of Technology, this state-of-the-art metal alloy is marketed by Liquidmetal Technologies and licensed by no other than Apple Computers.

Created through the rapid cooling of molten, multi-component metal, Caltech material engineers were able to evade the metallic tendency to harden into crystalline structures. Liquidmetal, also known as metallic glass, is an amalgamation of drastically different sized metallic and chemical elements, and it is this heterogeneity in part that allows Liquidmetal producers to bypass metallic crystal formation, which relies heavily on the specific order of atoms and a timely cooling process.

Liquidmetal alloy boasts a structural integrity twice that of titanium while matching the processing capacity of plastics, which is pretty much unheard of for metallic substances. These features alone mean that any device composed of Liquidmetal will be able to sustain harsher blows than titanium-swathed devices and be processed in a much more efficient manner.

Just to put the unmatched durability of Liquidmetal in perspective, current iPhones are made of aluminum, which is roughly half as strong as titanium. Do a little math, and this would mean that a Liquidmetal-clad iPhone would possess an exterior that is up to 400 percent stronger than current and past generations. Additionally, Liquidmetal’s excellent resistance to scratches and corrosion indubitably make it the best option for future handheld devices.

The rights to Liquidmetal were originally secured by Apple Computers for “Consumer Electronic Products” in 2010, and an extension on the lease was made within the last year, indicating that Apple will likely be fashioning the impending iPhone 6 housing from this superior material.