Smartphone Wars May Bring Increased Need for Sapphire and Aluminum Soldering Solutions

Smartphone GlassSapphire crystals play a key role in protecting various electronics from environmental conditions, as the material is one of the most scratch-resistant available. In fact, the latest Apple smartphone, the iPhone 5S uses it as protection both for the camera lens as well as the fingerprint scanner that is now incorporated into the front face.

It has been posited that Apple might use the crystal, synthetically produced, for the screen of the iPhone 6. The crystal is even stronger and more resistant to strikes than Corning’s Gorilla Glass, currently the standard for smartphones from a variety of manufacturers. One key concern is cost, and an Apple partner has reportedly streamlined the process. With phones and other products, another key is aluminum soldering or joining sapphire to other materials.

While many companies make electronics relatively easy to take apart to make repairs and replace components, the tech giant has a history of making closed systems. If that is the case, then joining the screen to the frame of the case could improve rigidity and limit deformation from falls or other accidents. Perhaps more importantly, any reduction in the price of sapphire display screens could spur its usage in other industries.

As noted above, phone makers already take advantage of the material to protect camera lenses, yet it is also commonly used in the production of lasers and in high-risk environments for sensor arrays, such as on oil rigs or for equipment that must take the brunt of sand, wind and other things that can degrade surfaces relatively quickly. If GT Advanced Technologies can decrease the costs of production, it stands as a material nearly as scratch-resistant as synthetic diamonds and far superior to

This will improve opportunities to make stronger electronics, but at the same time engineers will need to consider aluminum soldering options and other joining materials that can be used in low-temperature processes. Otherwise, they will be limited in designs based on differences in coefficients of thermal expansion between materials.

The report is available on the possibility of sapphire crystal production used in the upcoming iPhone 6.

Aluminum Soldering and Alloys, Ceramics Driving Auto Industry in Two Ways

Mechanic Working On CarAutomotive enthusiasts and new car buyers are used to seeing reviewers talk about ceramic brakes in high-performance sports cars. Due to their thermal properties, these brakes provide improved performance. However, they aren’t just in high-performance cars anymore. A new industry review indicates that ceramic pads now represent about 60 percent of the market.

Improvements in soldering will be important in the development of performance brake pads. Molded metal shims help minimize wobble and improve clamping ability by keeping more of the pad in contact with the rest of the assembly. However, less expensive pads may only include tape to attach these, so people who expect quality may look to see integrated shims, a design goal which can be accomplished with aluminum soldering. Continue Reading Aluminum Soldering and Alloys, Ceramics Driving Auto Industry in Two Ways

3D Printing, Masking, and Aluminum Soldering

3D Printed Circuit Board3D printing seems to grow ever more popular year by year. Research and development into this field is growing at a rapid pace and expanding into new frontiers. While it is most commonly used for plastics and prototyping, some companies have been expanding the applications to include solder masking. One manufacturer seems to have made a significant advance with the use of imprint lithography to affix transistors to substrates. One offshoot of that may be the necessity for joining dissimilar materials using techniques such as aluminum soldering. Continue Reading 3D Printing, Masking, and Aluminum Soldering

Battery Technology: Why Honda Wants to Come Home With You

Electric Car On RoadAutomakers are often seen as one of the biggest innovators in improving battery technology in order to help improve the efficiency of hybrid and all-electric vehicles. However, they are also looking at solutions for homeowners who are trying to go green, and this research could mean an increase in the need for aluminum soldering.

Honda has been showing off an experimental house they built with the help of the University of California, Davis, according to a New York Times report. They want to integrate the batteries used in electric vehicles into the home’s mini-power grid for a very important purpose: storing energy developed from solar panels or other renewable energy sources.

They are “part of a larger energy system [now], and I think the greatest opportunity for automakers is figuring out how their vehicles become part of that system,” the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies director told the newspaper. Honda, Ford, Tesla and other companies envision the vehicles as energy storage sources along with other battery-based systems.

This is important because in the overwhelming number of cases, solar panels generate more electricity than most homes need at the time, so the power goes back to the local utility which “buys” it from the homeowner in the form of a rebate on their monthly bill. This can be problematic because homeowners cannot control their own supply or choose what to do with it based on differences in price.

Batteries in both cars and homes make a certain amount of sense and the Honda example includes a 10 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. For reference, a federal agency found that in 2012 that the Mid-Atlantic states consumed 701 kWh per month. Batteries in the home like this could give homeowners additional options for their power usage needs. Better battery technology will play a huge role in this, but the technology isn’t there yet. This is where aluminum soldering comes into play.

Joining dissimilar materials is a key part of making better, longer-lasting batteries with the aid of various alloys and in some cases ceramics. Aluminum solder allows these materials to be joined at a lower temperature, opening up more possibilities for researchers and engineers. The home of the future may have its own battery, but it would be more beneficial if the capacity was larger than a few hours of the average day in the Mid-Atlantic States.

For more information on the Honda Smart Home project and related efforts, the original New York Times piece is available.