Aluminate Glass: Did Scientists Create Transparent Aluminum?
Anatoly Rosenflanz and colleagues at 3M in Minnesota used a "flame spray" technique to alloy aluminum oxide with rare-earth metal oxides to create a strong glass with good optical qualities - transparent alumninum! Well, okay, it's really transparent alumina - but that's probably as close as you Trekkies are likely to get.
(From Bulk Rare-Earth Aluminate Glasses)
Ordinary glass is cooled quickly, so its atoms have no time to form an ordered lattice - a crystal. Silica is typically used in glass because it can be cooled quickly. Until now, alumina was seen as a highly desirable constituent for glass, because it would have superior mechanical properties. And how well did their process work?
"The 3M scientists characterised the glasses using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and thermal analysis, and tested the strength of the materials with hardness and fracture toughness tests. They found that their samples were much harder than conventional silica-based glasses and were almost as hard as pure polycrystalline alumina."
Read Glass Breakthrough at PhysicsWeb for the details.
SF fans of course remember transparent aluminum from Star Trek IV. The forumula for this extremely tough but clear substance is traded for Plexiglas to make the walls of a tank for a pair of humpback whales. Now I'm feeling bad about the snarky Tinfoil Hats Now Made With Transparent Aluminum April Fool's Day story I did earlier in the year...
Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip story - and thanks for readers who wrote in with corrections.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/23/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.
New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.
Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '
Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'
Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'
Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'
Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...
Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'
3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!
Flexup Tire Design Good For Tumblebugs
'Each spoke telescopes into five sections.'
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...'
Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'
Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...'
News Now Philip K. Dick's Bailiwick
'A vast complex electronic organism... responsible to no one...'
Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'
Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories