Liquidmetal - the ultimate bicycle frame material?
I've been reading about Liquidmetal at their (no doubt) hype filled website. I came across it mentioned as a possible material for the case of a future Apple iPhone, but they do actually mention bicycles, so it maybe isn't totally out of question. It does sound like a very interesting material. It is an amorphous metal alloy, and it is claimed that you can cast it in intricate shapes without the inferior mechanical properties that cast metal usually has compared to wrought and forged parts. Amorphous means that, like glass and unlike metals, it doesn't have a crystal structure. Junctions between crystals are where defects can form, which is where cracks develop and cause the structure to fail. I imagine that you might be able to cast a frame, like Kirk Precision frames were meant to be. The ability to cast frames ought to help lower production costs, though I have no idea how great the challenges would be to make a successful production process. I imagine it could beat carbon fibre both in terms of weight, and the complexity of forms which could be created.