What will the iPhone 8 be made of?

Apple will create an iPhone primarily from ZrO2 - Zirconian Ceramics
The journey Apple has taken to adopt Zirconia Ceramic as the their fundamental design material translates like an epic movie plot. We will begin at the end.

What will the iPhone 8 be made of?
The Case For (of) Zirconia
Zirconia ceramics [1] are structured in a martensite-type [2] transformation mechanism of stress induction. This provides the ability to absorb highest amounts of stress relative to other ceramic materials including:
  • Alumina
  • Aluminum Nitride
  • Boron Carbide
  • Boron Nitride
  • Cordierite
  • Graphite
  • Mullite
  • Sapphire
  • Silicon Carbide
  • Silicon Nitride
  • Steatite
  • Titanium Diboride
  • Tungsten Carbide
This is just a part of the full article. The original article published on Quora, Please read the full article here
Zirconia ceramics exhibits the highest mechanical strength and toughness at room temperature. Zirconium ceramics have the highest fracture toughness of any advanced technical ceramic. Its toughness, mechanical properties and corrosion resistance make it ideal for high pressure applications.

Common industrial applications include extrusion dies, wire and pipe extension, guides and other wear rollers, pressure valves, and bearing materials. Its thermal expansion coefficient is very close to steel, this property has made Zirconia ceramics the ideal plunger for use in a steel bore. Its properties are derived from a very precise phase composition. Zirconia has excellent wear, chemical and corrosion resistance, and low thermal conductivity.

The properties of Zirconia ceramics are dictated by the types of atoms present, the types of bonding between the atoms, and the way the atoms are packed together. Zirconia is very densely packed. Zirconia ceramics usually have a combination of stronger bonds called ionic. This occurs between a metal and nonmetal and involves the attraction of opposite charges when electrons are transferred from the metal to the nonmetal.

There are also covalent bonds that occurs between two nonmetals and involves sharing of atoms. In general, metals have weaker bonds than ceramics, which allows the electrons to move freely between atoms. This type of bond results in the property called ductility, where the metal can be easily bent without breaking, allowing it to be drawn into wire. Thus although stronger than metals, Zirconia ceramics are a bit more brittle. There are various methods to mitigate these effects.

In relationship to most other materials, Zirconia ceramics exhibits an impervious resistance to scratching. Aluminum in almost all forms exhibits a higher likelihood of retaining scratches, scuffs and staining. Zirconia ceramics also can be pigmented to any color palette with-out the use of exterior paints.

Rocket Science: How NASA Uses Ceramics
Zirconia ceramics are also extremely efficient at dissipating heat, perhaps better than any other material. Heat dissipation is desired when protecting a system as a barrier to heat, heat conduction is desired when the aim is to transfer heat away from a system. The Space Shuttle used LI-900 silica ceramics as the thermal protection system, a barrier that protected the Space Shuttle Orbiter during atmospheric reentry dissipating ~3,000 °F of accumulated heat protecting the Aluminum skin from thermal gradients no hotter than 350°F . NASA began research into using ceramics spanning from the early 1960s for thermal HRSI layers for entry level spacecraft. NASA drove the research that created all the modern ceramic systems, including the ideas behind using Zirconia ceramics.

Zirconia + Alumina Or Aluminum Nitride Conduct Heat
The LI-900 silica ceramics have the opposite effect one would need in most moderne electronic devices, mainly to dissipate heat. Zirconia alone in a ceramic is a very low heat conductor, but this can be changed. In electronics application the introduction of Alumina or better yet Aluminum Nitride the heat conduction coefficients rapidly surpass Aluminum alone. The ratios of these introduction into the Zirconia ceramic can introduce brittleness, however it can be mitigated with an effective balance.

Transparent Zirconia Ceramics
Zirconia ceramics can also be transparent. In 2012 the Tokyo Research Laboratory wrote a landmark paper [3] called the: “Development of highly transparent zirconia ceramics”. Transparent Zirconia ceramics could serve as a new very hard screen.

Apple’s Material Science Odyssey
Apple has been on a journey to craft the products they create from the most advanced elements. Through it’s history Apple has revolutionized the use of Aluminum, from smelting and fabrication to micro-millimeter precision CNC machining. Apple has advanced the use of Aluminum to such a degree they have reached the pinnacle of how much further they can go, other than “transparent Aluminum” (Aluminum oxynitride) [4].

The 10th Anniversary iPhone 8
In September 2017, Apple will be releasing the 10th Anniversary iPhone 8. It is my view Apple will use this moment to present a completely new iPhone design that will be revolutionary in many ways. I assert the design language will be based on a more organic shape and design. There will be ergonomic curves that will mold into the new AMOLED display being driven by video chips that simply could not have thermally operated in such a small space with-out heat efficiency of Zirconia ceramics. The iPhone 8 will not just be water resistant but water proof and dust proof to a level never seen before on a smartphone. The lightning port will look more like the Mag-Safe system used on the MacBook Pro devices [10] and mostly use inductive charging. Of course there will be no 3.5mm audio jack

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