Apple already makes a file Apple Watch in titanium, but a patent granted today could pave the way for MacBooks, iPads and iPhones in titanium.
The patent describes how Apple could meet the challenge of giving titanium an aesthetically pleasing finish and follows a patent granted last month on a method for making a true matte black MacBook …
Unlike the previous patent, however, Apple’s concern here it’s like giving a naturally opaque material a semi-gloss finish.
Portable electronic devices may include various operating components (eg, display, processor, antenna, etc.). The enclosures for these portable electronic devices can be formed from various metals (eg anodized aluminum, etc.) having high strength and rigidity to protect these operational components. In addition, it is preferable to treat these casings in a way that gives these casings an attractive surface finish. However, specific types of metals, although they have a high amount of strength and stiffness, are also difficult to machine to impart an attractive surface finish. Consequently, it is necessary to implement techniques for machining these specific types of metals […]
This document describes various embodiments that generally refer to techniques for etching a titanium part. More particularly, the embodiments described refer to systems and methods for restoring the glossy finish of the etched titanium part.
The patent is of a technical nature and deals with the process of combining sandblasting and etching with a chemical anodizing process to obtain the desired finish. Apple claims that the former is better at hiding flaws in the metal, while the latter offers better protection.
The fine-scale roughness of the etched titanium part and the sandblasted and etched titanium part is useful for hiding surface defects, such as weld lines and differences in crystallographic grain structure. Conversely, just blasting a titanium part in a conventional way does not offer advantages such as hiding the weld lines.
According to some examples, it may be preferable to use a combination of an etching and sandblasting process when anodizing the titanium part. In particular, the anodized layer of an etched and sandblasted titanium part can be protected from chemical (e.g., fingerprint oils) and mechanical (e.g., rubbing against objects) removal due to the fact that the anodized layer is recessed and submerged within the valleys of the structured surface of the anodized part which has been etched and sandblasted.
Titanium is heavier than aluminum, but it is much stronger than you can use a much thinner piece to get the same strength and stiffness. The net result is that a titanium casing would be lighter than an aluminum one.
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