the back side of a black iphone seven plus

The Surprisingly-Scientific Way Apple Made the New iPhone Blacker

Apple has long been at the forefront of where science, technology, and, yes, chemistry meet. If we’ve learned anything from the recent spate of exploding Samsung Galaxy phones it’s that the chemistry behind technology is important – from batteries to screens to glass composition.

It’s exciting, then, that Apple spent so much time and resources making the newest iPhone blacker than ever. Here’s the science behind it.

With much hype, the new iPhone 7 is said to come in a color called “Jet Black” that’s the darkest, purest, glossiest yet. Apple has always loved offering its products in various shades of black, but this particular color is different. The brand spends considerable resources implementing new manufacturing technologies designed to give their products a design edge.

The iPhone 7’s glossiness comes from a brand new 9-step polishing phase. The process begins with a completely smooth piece of aluminum that’s then polished even smoother. Whereas traditional handling saw phones chemically washed then buffed, the iPhone is instead turned the chemical wash into a powdering media that it’s dipped through, chromatizing the phones. After this step, it is then dipped into an anodization tank where they’re electrified, converting the surface aluminum into aluminum oxide. This creates millions of microscopic “pores,” which are critical in obtaining the blackest black.

After the polishing phase, the iPhone’s pores are ready to soak up the dye. The capillary effect means the color actually becomes part of the surface itself, a breakthrough in technological design. The amazing part is that the entire process – from first polish to last – takes less than an hour.

It’s just one step further in the marriage of chemistry and technology, and Apple’s not the only company playing in the field. Everything from solar to electric cars is being touched by chemistry, and many of the processes that have long stood in the way of scalability and/or affordability are being solved by chemical science.

It’s an exciting time to be in the industrial chemicals market. Noah Chemicals specializes in niche chemical compounds developed to meet specific needs, much like Apple’s super-smooth aluminum. Want to find out more about how Noah’s chemicals can help you land a technological breakthrough? Contact us.

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