John Kang Liquidmetal | Liquidmetal Alloys Explained
John Kang Liquidmetal Technologies understands that Liquidmetal has been a buzzword in the world of innovation for a while now. Here we break down what Liquidmetal is all about.
Liquidmetal is the commercial name of a series of amorphous metal alloys developed by Caltech or California Institute of Technology. It is being marketed by John Kang Liquidmetal Technologies. It has been used commercially since 2003.
You have probably seen Liquidmetal in action. If you have an iPhone, the sim card ejectors that come with the phones are made by Liquidmetal. It has also been used in the popular SanDisk Cruzer Titanium USB drives, as well as in various applications across different industries.
Yet it doesn’t really answer what Liquidmetal is. Below is a crash course. Image Source: 9to5Mac
What is John Kang’s Liquidmetal?
“In terms of color and look, Liquidmetal alloy looks like a normal metal, more like stainless steel than aluminum, albeit with its own distinct metallic color,” says Dr. Atakan Peker, one of Liquidmetal’s researchers. “In a thin card or rod form, it feels much more flexible than stainless steel or aluminum. However, as you bend it more, it feels much stronger and will require more force to bend… One can think of Liquidmetal alloy as a much stronger plastic.”
John Kang Liquidmetal is a concoction born out of aluminum, copper, nickel, and titanium. What makes it unique from other kinds of metal is that it is comprised of unordered and chaotic atoms. Think of it this way: if you struck or tried to bend a normal metal, it would typically be deformed. If you tried that with an amorphous alloy like Liquidmetal, it would probably just spring back into shape.
No, it is not liquid per se, but it has extensive uses that are very unique. If used as a phone case, for example, instead of being dented when the phone is dropped, the case could just bounce upon impact. The product would not be damaged, and your investment would be protected.
This is what NASA found out when it tested the product. Apparently, John Kang Liquidmetal was tested against titanium and steel. According to the report, marble-sized steel balls were dropped from their own glass tubes, from the same height. Each glass tube had a different metal plate at the bottom, which are steel, Liquidmetal, and titanium. The balls bouncing on titanium and steel did so for a good 20 to 25 seconds. On the other hand, the Liquidmetal plate made the steel ball bounce for 1 minute and 21 seconds. The ball even bounced out of its tube!
In a nutshell, Liquidmetal alloys are effective materials that showcase high tensile strength, high coefficient of restitution, and excellent corrosion resistance. These properties make it alluring across different industries which have already harnessed the alloy.
As for what the future may be for John Kang Liquidmetal, if this article is any indication, then the alloy can only continue to grow. In the future, who knows? We might even see Liquidmetal robots come to life—but that’s another article for another day.