A patent application filed by Apple last month could lead to a new process for the development of water-resistant electronic devices by eliminating the seam traditionally found where the parts of conventional housings are joined together.
The new patent describes the concept of creating an integrally-formed housing using a ceramic laminate constructed from layers of ceramic material with differing properties—including alumina, or aluminum oxide, which ensures that the enclosure retains adequate radio frequency transmission capabilities.
“A radio transparent enclosure would be beneficial as it would allow components, such as antennas, to be positioned inside the enclosure,” Apple wrote in the patent application.
Patently Apple points out that in addition to a more streamlined appearance, the absence of a seam would help prevent water damage and other contamination to the internal circuitry of a device.
To give the proposed housing additional durability, Apple also suggests the possible use of ceramic materials with “superior mechanical properties,” such as zirconia, or zirconium dioxide, in combination with the layers of alumina to create “a housing that is both mechanically resilient and suitably RF energy transparent.”