Speaker Applications Using Alpine HX5 Ultra Strong Lightweight Nanocomposite
Mike Klasco contributed to an extensive Market Update feature article on Speaker Technology, published in the January 2022 issue of audioXpress magazine. In this article he highlights a couple of exciting materials that have been in stealth mode but are about to step into the spotlight and that should be on the radar of loudspeaker designers. Among those new materials, is a lightweight military aviation-grade nanocomposite from Alpine Advanced Materials, named HX5.
Following the publication in the magazine, Mike Klasco expanded the article a bit more in the online edition. Because, as he mentions, HX5 may be an interesting alternative to beryllium and high-performance aluminum alloys used in woofer, midrange, and full-range cones. Compared to aluminum, cones can be made at half the weight with comparable strength. And the material is an obvious candidate for enclosures and cabinets in outdoor applications or portable active-lifestyle designs.
There’s a lot happening in speaker technology. Enclosures, drivers and transducers are constantly evolving, and innovations are happening not only in design, construction, and materials but also in the engineering approach.
The latest entry in this arena is HX5, a lightweight military aviation-grade nanocomposite produced by Alpine Advanced Materials (Dallas, TX), a subsidiary of Catalyze Dallas Holdings. HX5’s creator, Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks (Palmdale, CA) is known for creating the legendary SR-71 spy planes, the Lockheed-Martin F-35 stealth fighter and other awesome stuff. Alpine designs and manufactures purpose-built parts using advanced materials, focused on replacing metal with composites.
HX5 is an engineered nanocomposite material developed and tested by Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks to replace aerospace grade aluminum alloys. Used in Commercial Aerospace, Defense, Space and other applications, presents an alternative to beryllium, high-performance aluminum alloys, and conventional carbon fiber composites. With more than a decade of testing and validation with an R&D investment in excess of $50 million, HX5 has application to lightweight super-strong speaker enclosures from mobile DJ speakers, touring sound arrays, outdoor speaker enclosures to very high-performance injection molded or extruded compression molded speaker cones.