John Kang Liquidmetal | Amorphous Alloy Applications
Top 3 Most Exciting Applications of John Kang’s Liquidmetal
John Kang of Liquidmetal Technologies parent company, LM Group Holdings, Inc., shares some of the most exciting potential applications of Liquidmetal.
If you’ve ever owned an iPhone 3G or 3Gs, then there’s a good chance that you’ve already handled Liquidmetal before. Contrary to its brand name, Liquidmetal is entirely solid once formed and used for whatever purpose it was designed. It’s not the iPhone itself, but the SIM card tray ejector that’s made of the stuff.
Before we get into our top most exciting applications for Liquidmetal, let’s delve a little deeper into what this alloy is, and what it does. Image Source: Apple.top
What Is It?
“If one makes a paperclip from Liquidmetal alloy, it will stay quite flexible and one would likely hurt or cut a finger or two before deforming it permanently,” says Dr. Atakan Peker, one of the key researchers behind Liquidmetal.
Liquidmetal is the commercial name for the alloys of metals developed by Liquidmetal Technologies Inc., which are considered amorphous metals. This group of metals was originally developed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in partnership with NASA and the US Department of Energy.
According to an article published on Forbes.com, “Liquidmetal’s alloy based on titanium and zirconium is 2.5 times stronger than titanium or steel and less than halftheir weight for the same amount of strength. John Kang says Liquidmetal’s amorphous alloys are also non-corroding and strongly resistant to dents.”
What Can It Do?
High corrosion resistance, high tensile strength, wear resistance, and an almost elastic quality allowing a slow release of energy. This all may sound familiar, but what truly makes it unique is that Liquidmetal alloys have a dense and varied atom mix that allows it to act more like glass or plastic as temperature is increased.
This means that Liquidmetal alloy products can be manufactured using techniques that are normally reserved for plastics, and practically anything that can be formed through plastic manufacturing processes can now be made of highly durable metal in small volume form.
Below are some of the most exciting applications of John Kang’s Liquidmetal.
- Consumer Electronic Hinges – Laptop hinges are nothing new, of course, but just like the mileage on a car, hinges and springs on our gadgets have a limited lifespan, and the problem becomes compounded every year when we try to come up with thinner, smaller, and lighter gadgets. Imagine a laptop whose hinge never gets loose, or a camera whose shutter life is virtually limitless.
- Space Travel Gears – Douglas Holfmann, a technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has shown that gears molded from amorphous metals demonstrate strong torque and smooth operation at temperatures reaching minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 200 degrees Celsius).
- Wind Power Transformers – A distribution transformer made from amorphous metals result in low-maintenance, high durability power generation. ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri) has developed two kinds of distribution transformers made with amorphous metal cores, which reduce no-load loss of energy by 70 percent.
While we doubt anyone would pay serious money for a paperclip like that, there are undoubtedly many, far more exciting uses for John Kang’s Liquidmetal in consumer products and industrial equipment alike.