As new developments in consumer electronics continue at the speed of light, different materials are being selected to improve functionality. With each generation of mobile devices comes more complex technology housed in a relatively delicate package. Anyone who has dropped a phone without a protective cover knows just how fragile these computing powerhouses really are. And with such a high price tag on replacement devices, it’s no wonder so many products are now on the market to protect them.
Perhaps the most obvious way to protect your mobile devices is by putting them inside a protective case or cover. A downside is that traditional rubberized cases are often bulky, making them difficult to get in and out of a pocket. By incorporating composite materials, manufacturers are able to provide the same level of protection in a slimmer product design. In fact, Urban Armor Gear’s Outland composite iPhone 6 case meets military drop test standards without taking up too much space.
But what if we could build mobile devices that didn’t require any additional protection? Currently, Samsung is leading the charge with carbon-fiber composite housings for smartphones. The materials are already being used in other major industries, including energy, construction, and aerospace. In the consumer electronics space, the carbon-fiber materials will provide an ideal combination of electrical conductivity, increased strength, and reduced weight. And because this is a composite based phone housing, the phone is inherently protected against a fall or impact without needing an extra case.
Composite materials are useful in much more than basic phone housings, however. Currently, a team is using composites to create flexible solar batteries. We’ve all been in a situation where our batteries were running dangerously low without a charging station in sight. Having flexible solar batteries on hand means that as long as there is sunlight, there’s a reliable source of energy available for harvesting. We look forward to seeing more news about this exciting research.
What other uses for composites have you seen in the consumer electronics industry? Let us know on Twitter. We’re always on the look-out for innovations in this fast-changing field.