Panasonic Employs New Mg Alloy to Realize Ultra-light Convertible PC
Panasonic Corp will release what it claims is the world's lightest convertible PC equipped with a 12.5-inch wide LCD panel and optical drive.
The PC, "MX3" in the "Let's note" series, can be used both as notebook and tablet computers and has a weight of 1.198kg (approx 2.641 pounds).
In the development of the MX3, Panasonic put special efforts into reducing weight to less than 1.2kg while using an optical drive. For example, for the upper case of its keyboard unit, the company employed a die-cast part made of a new magnesium (Mg) alloy called "UHD alloy."
The UHD alloy is made by adding carbon (C) to an MG alloy used for die-casting. It improves fluidity at the time of formation, enabling to reduce thickness. Also, its small crystal grain size increases proof stress.
The UHD alloy was co-developed by material and die-cast machine makers in the aim of applying the "UH alloy," a carbon-containing Mg alloy developed for thixomolding, to die-casting. And this is the first time in the world that the UHD alloy has been commercialized, Panasonic said.
The AX, the former model in the Let's note series, uses a pressed part made of Mg and aluminum. But the employment of the UHD alloy reduced weight by about 10-20g.
For the top plate, which was a Mg alloy die-cast part for the former model, Panasonic employed a material having the "three-layer sandwich structure (two-layer foamed prepreg)," which sandwiches a foamed material by using a newly-developed carbon fiber material. In addition, the company used a bonnet structure that increases the thickness of part of the top plate. As a result, it reduced weight by 14% while keeping surface strength.
Furthermore, Panasonic cut the weight of the optical drive unit by 34% by, for example, making holes in its case.