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What is Liquidmetal used for?

A high-tech amorphous alloy called Liquidmetal, licensed by Apple, has generated a lot of interest recently.
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1 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

What is Liquidmetal used for?

Rumors that the iPhone 5 or the 2012 refresh of the MacBook Pro could feature case components made of the high-tech amorphous alloy called Liquidmetal has generated a lot of interest in this material.

Liquidmetal is the commercial name given to an alloy that is almost twice as strong as the strongest titanium alloys. It was developed by Caltech in 2003 and has been used in a broad range of military, medical, luxury, consumer, industrial, and sporting goods products.

Let's take a look at some of the uses that this fascinating material has been put to.

Image credit: Liquidmetal Technologies

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2 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone SIM eject tool

Probably the most widespread use of Liquidmetal is also probably the most dull. Since licensing this technology from Liquidmetal Technologies Apple has used this robust wonder material make the SIM eject tool for the iPhone.

I guess Apple wanted something sexier than a paperclip!

Image credit: ZDNet 

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3 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

BIOLASE ezlase

Liquidmetal is used to make the tips of this dental whitening laser from BIOLAZE. This application leverages the material's high hardness, durability and low thermal conductivity.

Image credit: BIOLASE

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4 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Bezel for Omega's Seamaster Planet Ocean wristwatch

Omega combined ceramic with Liquidmetal to create tough, durable yet stylish bezel for its Planet Ocean series of wristwatches.

Image credit: Omega

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5 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Kinetic Energy Penetrator

The Department of Defense has tested Liquidmetal for use as a Kinetic Energy Penetrator (KEP) rod. The KEP, technology that makes armor piercing ammunition work, currently makes use of depleted uranium (DU) because of its density and self-sharpening behavior. Ballistic tests conducted by the Army have shown that the Liquidmetal exhibit self-sharpening similar to the DU KEP, but without the toxicity of uranium.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Industrial coatings

Liquidmetal Coatings, a subsidiary of Liquidmetal Technologies, has been supplying a patented product called Armacor to the oil and gas industry for more than 17 years. The Armacor coating is used for drill pipes and tool joints and is valued for its high strength, hardness and low friction coefficient.

Image credit: Armacor

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7 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Sports

One area that Liquidmetal Technologies is interested in taking their wonder alloy is into the world of sports. The material has a number of properties -- strength, vibration dampening, hardness, corrosion-resistance -- that make it suited for use in sports products such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, skis and bicycles.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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