Liquidmetal, or metallic glass, was created in the Caltech (California Institute of Technology) lab in the early 1990s. It can resist bending, scratching, denting and shattering, according to the scientists responsible, William Johnson and Marios Demetriou, at Caltech.
Liquidmetal, in fact, is getting renewed attention following a report in Korean IT News that Apple is experimenting with it for upcoming devices.
Liquidmetal is not transparent. As Johnson put it very bluntly, "if it were transparent, it would not be a metal." It is, however, shiny like glass and looks a bit like stainless steel in terms of colour, they said.
It was created in the Caltech lab in the early 1990s and, Johnson said, it was an absolute breakthrough. "We were trying to make metal that formed glass," he said, "to form glass like a window pane."
Liquidmetal is an alloy incorporating zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and beryllium. These days, there are variations – some use aluminium, for instance – but all include zirconium and have five components, and, thanks to rapid cooling, no crystals form.
"It's expensive compared to aluminium and steel," Demetriou said. "A little more than titanium, [but] not like silver and gold."
In addition to possibly seeing more Liquidmetal-infused consumer electronics, such as an iPhone, it could be easily applied in dental implants, Demetriou said.