Liquidmetal concept could enable Apple to manufacture devices layer by layer

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2015
Making use of its ties with Liquidmetal Technologies, Apple on Tuesday won a U.S. patent on a way of manufacturing products layer-by-layer using bulk-solidifying amorphous alloys, also known as bulk metalic glasses.




The technology lets alloys be solidified and cooled at slow rates and keep an amorphous and non-crystalline state at room temperature. The patent notes that if cooling doesn't happen quickly enough, crystals can form that undo the benefits of the amorphous state of the process.

The described method would involve manufacturing with molten bulk metallic glass in a constant stream or discrete droplets, which can be applied in different positions on a product and repeatedly, layer-over-layer.

The patent is assigned to Apple and a Liquidmetal subsidiary, Crucible Intellectual Property. Three of the credited inventors -- Christopher D. Prest, Joseph C. Poole, and Theodore Andrew Waniuk -- work with Apple, while Joseph Stevick is with Liquidmetal. Waniuk was previously with Liquidmetal as well.

Apple has a patent licensing agreement with Liquidmetal, but it's unclear if the technology has been used for anything beyond SIM card tray pins. It could be in some internal components, and the company has also been developing mass manufacturing techniques to bring costs down.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Sounds similar to cold-spraying to form metal parts, but in this case you spray a liquid metal instead of accelerate a nanoparticle at high velocity to fuse it to the forming substrate. Spraying liquid metal is probably much more amenable to use in 3D printing than cold spraying. This could be really interesting for 3D printing. Not sure how it benefits Apple....
  • Reply 2 of 14
    "The technology lets alloys be solidified and [B]cooled at slow rates[/B] and keep an amorphous and non-crystalline state at room temperature. The patent notes that [B]if cooling doesn't happen quickly enough[/B], crystals can form that undo the benefits of the amorphous state of the process. "

    I just don't get it !!
  • Reply 3 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    abhitalks wrote: »
    "The technology lets alloys be solidified and cooled at slow rates and keep an amorphous and non-crystalline state at room temperature. The patent notes that if cooling doesn't happen quickly enough, crystals can form that undo the benefits of the amorphous state of the process. "

    I just don't get it !!

    I guess they mean you have to use an accurate meat thermometer so as not to ruin the roast! ;)
  • Reply 4 of 14
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,515member

    Some day, something will make LQMT move.... :\

  • Reply 5 of 14
    I hope LQMT stock benefits from this in a mass production capacity. I've taken a sizable gamble on it stock wise.
  • Reply 6 of 14



    At least you recognize it as a gamble. I think the real promise is with defense contracts and the healthcare industry. Those two alone could make the needle move on the stock. LQMT is taking a methodical approach which is good. Slow and steady wins the race!

  • Reply 7 of 14
    Does this mean LQMT will pop? 0.13 to 1.00? Come on penny stocks!
  • Reply 8 of 14
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,058member

    Sooo... 3D printing? Novel concept. :rolleyes:

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iZENstein View Post



    I hope LQMT stock benefits from this in a mass production capacity. I've taken a sizable gamble on it stock wise.

     

    I bought a few shares but I wouldn't call it a sizable gamble! :wow:  I was just noticing the day before yesterday it was down to .12 or so and thought "I ought to buy a few more shares"... and then this! It's already jumped a couple cents. Oh well, looks like they're still working on it, it'll go back down. 

  • Reply 9 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,347member
    Transparent aluminium!
  • Reply 10 of 14
    They received a contract with a specialty knife company. As someone stated they are going slow and steady. Also Apple has talked about the hardening of their alloys in the watches - so it seems like an evolving process. Hopefully it will payoff. Pretty much bought willing to lose it.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,347member
    izenstein wrote: »
    They received a contract with a specialty knife company. As someone stated they are going slow and steady. Also Apple has talked about the hardening of their alloys in the watches - so it seems like an evolving process. Hopefully it will payoff. Pretty much bought willing to lose it.

    Which knife company?
  • Reply 12 of 14
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,387member
    Wasn't LQMT used in the battery latch for the AppleTV remote?
  • Reply 13 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,347member

    Did the forums just blow up or is it just me? On the desktop, the formatting and a lot of the graphics have disappeared...

     

    EDIT:  Ah, it's fixed now.

  • Reply 14 of 14
    rcfarcfa Posts: 695member
    abhitalks wrote: »
    "The technology lets alloys be solidified and cooled at slow rates and keep an amorphous and non-crystalline state at room temperature. The patent notes that if cooling doesn't happen quickly enough, crystals can form that undo the benefits of the amorphous state of the process. "

    I just don't get it !!

    If you were to cast a complex/bigger piece, it would cool down at a rate where crystals can form. Not good.

    If you do this layer by layer, each individual layer cools very quickly, but the cooling of the entire object is still spread out over time (since it consists of many layers), yet no crystals form.

    So there are two different contexts: cooling of entire object (slow since spread out over time by using layers) vs. cooling of individual layers (fast to prevent crystal formation).
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