Microsoft is hoping to offer an alternative to traditional bar steel for its bright bars.
In a new patent, Microsoft describes an improved version of the bar steel that uses carbon nanotubes as the main material.
Microsoft describes the improved bar as an “alternative to conventional bar steel,” which it claims is “an expensive material that requires extensive manufacturing.”
Carbon nanotube bars are lightweight, strong, and extremely flexible, which Microsoft claims could make them suitable for many applications.
The key is to make them so lightweight that they can be easily bent by bending the carbon nanotextures in the material.
That means a bar can be made of bar steel or bar aluminum, but not both at the same time.
That’s not as easy as it sounds, as it requires the use of a “compact material,” such as aluminum or carbon fiber.
But Microsoft says it’s working on a way to make bars that are both lightweight and flexible, without requiring a compact material.
“For example, a bar with a compact polymer composite (a polymer material that is lightweight and easy to bend), or a bar made of carbon fiber with carbon nanostructures as the core material,” Microsoft wrote.
“A compact polymer may be fabricated using a composite or an aluminum alloy, or a composite made of multiple composite materials that are all made of the same core material.”
The patent notes that the new material could be used in a variety of applications.
It could be incorporated into high-tech products like sensors and displays, or used to make light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that are cheap, but also require a flexible material.
The patent also explains how the material could work in the manufacturing of optical and electrostatic display devices.
“The material can be fabricated as an integral part of a transparent polymer substrate, as an integrated part of optical elements in an electronic device, or as a part of an integrated optical device,” the patent reads.
“Alternatively, a transparent polymeric substrate can be embedded in an integrated circuit and used as an interface between the integrated circuit, and the transparent polymer substrate.
In either case, the transparent polymer may also be incorporated in the display substrate.”