As Liquidmetal technology gains exposure to engineers in a variety of industries, applications that stand to benefit from the process are illuminated. The automotive industry has a vast landscape of components, each requiring a very specific set of attributes. These attributes are often mission critical, as the safety of millions is on the line.
Some applications that stand to benefit from Liquidmetal technology include engine timing systems, fuel injection, interior and exterior decorative components, passenger safety components, pumps, sensors, severe duty connectors, and more. Leveraging the full benefits of the Liquidmetal process is the goal, and depending on the component, Liquidmetal alloy may offer greater design freedom than ever before. The Liquidmetal process should not necessarily be seen as a replacement process, but as an opportunity to access unique properties with the design freedom of a molding process.
To simplify what a good application for Liquidmetal technology looks like, the graphic below is a helpful guide. The Liquidmetal process produces a set of characteristics that often overlap other metalworking technologies, making it a valuable manufacturing alternative. If you need three or more of the attributes to the right, Liquidmetal technology is a likely solution for your automotive application.
Some common critical attributes for automotive applications include precision, corrosion resistance, surface finish, and elasticity. Precision may be the process’ most favorable characteristic. With nearly zero shrinkage, the part ejected from the mold can often beat the most precise CNC machining operations. When it comes to corrosion, Liquidmetal alloys have significantly outperformed stainless steel in several corrosion tests, and shown nearly undetectable levels of mass loss in salt spray tests. Because the material mimics the mold, near-optical as-molded surface finish can be achieved, without lapping or polishing.
In a vast sea of manufacturers, components, and processes, producing an automotive part with the right combination of attributes and economics can be challenging. The Liquidmetal process offers a solution to many manufacturing difficulties in an economical package.