Apple’s investment in Liquidemtal technology from 2010 may finally materialize in the next-generation iPhone or iPad, according to a new job posting on Apple.com.
Apple is seeking a Mechanical Engineer with a “broad understanding of materials and manufacturing process such as joining (press lamination, gluing, heat staking),” according to the company’s web site.
The new recruit needs to have understanding of part creation processes, such as “CNC milling/turning, injection molding, stamping, MIM, die casting, extrusion and sheet forming etc.”
The space-age Liquidmetal material is manipulated using these exact processes. The job advert doesn’t make this a certainty, but Apple could finally be ready to deliver the Liquidmetal iPhone this year.
Applicants also need to have experience with mechanical fabricated parts, jigs, fixtures, etc. Furthermore, “injection molding and plastics experience is a plus,” says Apple.
Liquidmetal has been described as a combination of steel, glass and plastics, as it possesses key characteristics from these three materials, such as the hardness of steel, and the manipulability of plastics.
According to the people who invented the material, the amorphous alloy known as Liquidmetal is revolutionizing modern manufacturing by combining “the strength of forging with intricate molding capabilities superior to MIM (metal injection molding).”
“Twice the strength of titanium, delivers repeatable molded features within ±50µm (±0.002”), and ultralow shrinkage rate of 0.2%,” according to Liquidmetal Technologies.
The company also mentions some similarities to glass, such as its “brittle” nature when stressed to the limit.
“Like most glasses, the yield strength of Liquidmetal Alloy is nearly identical to its ultimate tensile strength, meaning that when the material is stressed to its yield limit, rather than plastically deforming, it will break, and is therefore technically considered brittle, even though it is highly elastic (see below).”
Apple’s acquisition of Liquidmetal technology has long promised to yield something spectacular in the form of a jaw-dropping iPhone design, or a super-sleek MacBook casing