The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 56 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a liquid-metal related patent that supports hollow structures. This supports a possible future flexible display based iPhone patent filing that was revealed last December.
Apple Granted Patent for Counter-Gravity Casting of Hollow Shapes
Apple has been granted what could be a major patent today for their invention relating to liquid-metal or Bulk Metallic Glasses (BMG) that could be constructed in hollow structures.
Apple's patent FIGS. 9A and 9B depict various exemplary hollow parts formed by using the invention's disclosed methods and apparatus. The hollow parts may be formed having various hollow shapes and outer shapes. In FIGS. 9A-9B, each exemplary BMG-containing hollow part can be in a cylindrical shape with uniform shell thickness. The uniform thickness for each of the BMG-containing hollow parts in FIGS. 9A-9B can be controlled, e.g., depending on the selected metal alloys and/or the process parameters.
Towards the end of Apple's granted patent Apple points to liquid-metal of BMG (Bulk Metallic Glass ) as possibly being used in future products that they specifically list as being an Apple TV, TV monitor, iPad, iPod or iPhone and others.
Although all of Apple's BMG centric patents list the same possible future products as noted above, this time around the patent FIGS. 9A and 9B match up to Apple product patents that the US Patent Office published back in 2013. The closest to the hollow structures in this granted patent was covered in our December 2013 report with the images noted below.
In that report we pointed to a possible hybrid of sapphire and liquid-metal (the material) and today's granted patent supports the construction of hollow structures as noted above. Apple's second patent supporting hollow structures was covered in a report that we posted in March 2013.
Apple granted patent notes that the Assignees include Apple and Crucible Intellectual Property that's the joint venture between Apple and Liquidmetal the company.
Apple credits Theodore Waniuk, Joseph Stevick, Sean O'Keeffe, Dermot Stratton, Joseph Poole, Matthew Scott and Christopher Prest as the inventors of granted patent 8,701,742. The patent which lists 20 patent claims was originally filed in Q3 2012 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple's first patent claim reads as follows: "A method of forming a bulk metallic glass (BMG)-containing hollow part, the method comprising: feeding a molten metal alloy, in a counter-gravity direction, into a mold cavity to deposit the molten metal alloy on a surface of the mold cavity; solidifying the deposited metal alloy on the surface of the mold cavity to form the BMG-containing hollow part; and applying a fluid stream into the molten metal alloy to form a hollow cavity in the molten metal alloy within the mold cavity."
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