Apple invents eco-friendly, flame resistant material for future devices

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Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan
Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

A patent published today shows that Apple is investigating new halogen free, flame-retardant materials for use in its devices.

According to Apple, only about 12% of plastics currently contain flame retardants. An increased use of such materials would improve the safety of electrical wiring and electronic devices, and help reduce the number of fires caused by electronic devices as a result.

Halogenated flame retardants have been found to be effective in many plastics, but these are increasingly regulated as a result of environmental concerns. Since sustainability is a big topic for Apple, the company therefore wanted to discover a material that would possess similar fire-retardant qualities, while also not being damaging to the environment.

Tuesday’s patent describes a material with these qualities, that also produces only negligible amounts of toxic substances while burning. As per Apple, the material could be used in devices including the iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad.

Being a patent, of course, it’s unknown whether this material will ever make it into an actual Apple product, but for both safety and marketing reasons it would be a great idea. Although reports are few and far between, Apple certainly has made headlines over the years when its devices have somehow caught fire.

Last year the police had to be called out to a Vodafone store in Canberra, Australia after an iPad reportedly blew up, while earlier in 2014 an iPhone 5c exploded in the pocket of a 13-year-old girl, resulting in her being rushed to the hospital with second-degree burns.

True, this is an incredibly minor risk (and often the result of tampering with the products in question), but if there’s a way for Apple to make its devices even safer, it would be great to see it implemented.

Via: Patently Apple