The difference in microstructure between Liquidmetal alloy and other materials may be the most underappreciated difference between Liquidmetal alloy components and products manufactured with other techniques such as metal injection molding (MIM) or additive manufacturing (AKA “3D Printing”).
If you have studied our website or have researched “bulk metallic glass”, you have likely seen an illustration of randomly distributed circles against a white background representing the liquid-like microstructure of Liquidmetal alloys. It is this random atomic structure that fundamentally enables the material properties and process advantages of our alloys. For more background and a history of bulk metallic glasses, please download our Liquidmetal whitepaper.
Liquidmetal Technologies was a featured exhibitor and presentor last week (Apr. 2-4) at the annual Advanced Aerospace Materials and Processes conference (AeroMat), which is considered the “premier conference for applied materials and processing for the global aerospace industry.”
In the parts industry there are mechanical parts (brackets, frames, mounts, housings, etc.) which drive product performance, and cosmetic parts (bezels, cases, trim, grilles, etc.) which drive product appeal.
Often, a part is required which attempts to fulfil both these functions, but with limitations in one area or the other. Cosmetic materials such as brass, silver, gold, and platinum do not typically have extraordinary strength, stiffness, hardness or wear resistance. On the other hand, widely used engineering materials such as titanium, steel, and copper alloys are difficult to make appealing to the eye without expensive coatings or paint which are themselves subject to scratching, flaking, and oxidizing.
Many experienced product designers confuse Liquidmetal Injection Molding with MIM* (Metal Injection Molding). In an attempt to clarify the difference we have been crafting our message more carefully, and our new website is an attempt to do just that.
However, a picture is worth 1,000 words: