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 -
Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'- Philip K. Dick, 1957.
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.' - Philip K. Dick, 1966.
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.
Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'
Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.
Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'
Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'
MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'
EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'
UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'
Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'
Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'
Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'
Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?
Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'
InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'
China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'
Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories