Apple has filed for a patent on a method of using carbon fiber as a casing material. If the company were to bring such a technology to market, it would mean the company’s devices could be both lighter and stronger.
The company’s patent application describes a method of using, “a layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP” to make both a spine and and a CFRP spine. “The CFRP spine may be a unitary frame that imparts strength and rigidity to the overall housing and also form at least some of the corners of the frame.”
The application’s abstract also said, “The skin may be formed from multiple layers of CFRP type material stacked atop each other. Each layer may be cut at one or more corners to expose at least a portion of the layer beneath. The skin may thus have an overall cross shape, such that each arm of the cross may be wrapped around a different side of the aforementioned rectangular spine.”
In other words, Apple plans on using a alternating layers of carbon fiber to form a unibody case for strength, rigidity, and durability. In the two figures below, you can see the way Apple envisions forming the cases.
We should emphasize that this is a patent application, not a granted patent. It was filed on November 18th, 2010, or, as we in the journalism business might call it, “yesterday.” Even if Apple is granted a patent for the method, there is no guarantee that it’s a technology the company plans to actually bring to market.
We should thank the Apple-loving fanboys at The Inquirer for the heads up on this patent.