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  • Apple Patenting Method to Harden Stainless Steel


    Reports that Apple is patenting a process to harden stainless steel has prompted speculation that the company is interested in making cases for future mobile devices out of steel, rather than plastic or glass. The method described in the application involves placing a thin layer of nitride on top of the steel to improve its ability to resist scratches and rust.

    The patent, called "Nitriding Stainless Steel for Consumer Electronic Products," talks about the rust-resistant quality of stainless steel: specifically, the addition of chromium to the alloy which permits a thin layer of chromium oxide to form on the surface, inhibiting further rust. Some manufacturers use a titanium nitride coating to add further protection to the steel, but this can cause a yellowish tint. Apple's patent presents a way to preserve the natural color of the steel by using a different nitride. "In addition to providing a durable, hard surface that is both scratch and impact resistant," the patent reads, "the nitride layer allows for the natural surface color and texture of the underlying stainless steel to remain visible to the user." The layer would be just 15 microns thick but would have a Vickers hardness rating of over 1000. Normal stainless steel has a hardness rating of about 150.

    Austenitic stainless steel, which is a form of stainless that includes nickel, is useful for mobile devices because it is non-magnetic and does not block RF, WiFi, Bluetooth, or other wireless technologies utilizing electromagnetism. The band around the iPhone 4 is made of this material.

    Apple's interest in metal manufacturing techniques is not limited to this process: the company obtained an exclusive license to use the intellectual property of Liquidmetal Technologies to create extremely strong, flexible materials with the pliability of plastic so that they can be formed into a wide variety of shapes.

    Source: AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Patenting Method to Harden Stainless Steel started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. eddietah's Avatar
      eddietah -
      Finally
    1. skizo's Avatar
      skizo -
      I couldn't care less what the back is made of. I slap a black case on mine as soon as I buy it.
    1. romeo_herman's Avatar
      romeo_herman -
      Quote Originally Posted by CNN.cn View Post
      Product Name: Apple iPhone 4 beveled back cover - black/silver metal insert
      Product Description
      Apple iPhone 4 beveled back cover - black/silver metal insert

      The metal plate has a raised beveled edge

      Note, this is a replacement back cover for the iPhone 4. The phone needs to be taken apart (2 Phillips screws) to swap this part onto your phone

      Please note, the camera lens and camera flash lens are included and already installed.
      Price:$13.99


      Push THANKS if help.....
    1. Gyngabread Man's Avatar
      Gyngabread Man -
      i see myself doing this one to my i4
    1. puissance000's Avatar
      puissance000 -
      I hope the added chromium will not cause my skin to break out since i have metal allergy
    1. XFaega's Avatar
      XFaega -
      Quote Originally Posted by romeo_herman View Post
      Price:$13.99


      Push THANKS if help.....
      You can get it in different colors also and also instead of the bevel look you can get it flush just like the original i4 glass back.
    1. xclusiveiphone's Avatar
      xclusiveiphone -
      Quote Originally Posted by pacmac View Post
      no more glass breaks just a fat dent...i assume the 1st gen iphone did not use this material...i do love the iphone 4 design ....apple need to get rid of the chrome back on ipod touches
      Front still glass, still breaks...
    1. Cowboy's Avatar
      Cowboy -
      Quote Originally Posted by xclusiveiphone View Post
      Front still glass, still breaks...
      Thank you captain obvious! What else can they make the front out of? Plastic?
    1. athleticswimmer's Avatar
      athleticswimmer -
      steve jobs - Like it!!! proceed with the development.
      harden stainless steal maker - sir! YES!! SIR!!!
    1. raduga's Avatar
      raduga -
      Quote Originally Posted by westerman View Post
      Thank you captain obvious! What else can they make the front out of? Plastic?
    1. jbarrett652's Avatar
      jbarrett652 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jmataska View Post
      Yea the website is CNN.cn. Just ordered mine earlier before this thread was up lol


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
      Nice!
    1. Endorphiin's Avatar
      Endorphiin -
      That Steel Back is too awesome.
    1. xclusiveiphone's Avatar
      xclusiveiphone -
      Quote Originally Posted by westerman View Post
      Thank you captain obvious! What else can they make the front out of? Plastic?
      Hi captain Sherlock, how about plexiglass?
    1. alexevo's Avatar
      alexevo -
      Quote Originally Posted by xclusiveiphone View Post
      Hi captain Sherlock, how about plexiglass?
      i think you mean lexan. plexiglas(1 s not 2) is slightly more opaque and scratches much easier.
    1. Cowboy's Avatar
      Cowboy -
      Quote Originally Posted by xclusiveiphone View Post
      Hi captain Sherlock, how about plexiglass?
      which can still break and crack and scratch try agian please