There’s a new material development that could revolutionize all manner products and applications, from cell phones and wine glasses to skyscrapers and automotive windows.
It’s a new type of glass that’s completely transparent, relatively thin and yet strong as steel. Described as a breakthrough technology, this new material may be available for incorporation into all manner of products and structures in just five years.
A Breakthrough In The Unbreakable
The new unbreakable glass comes from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science, where scientists have used aluminum oxide—also called alumina—along with a special levitation technique to produce glass that’s twice as strong as conventional options.
According to strength, hardness, and elasticity tests carried out by the researchers, the new glass is comparable in strength to steel or iron.
Crystal Clear And Strong As Steel
This level of strength is achieved by increasing the amount of alumina used in the glass production process. While the addition itself isn’t remarkable, the forming process, which is carried out by using an aerodynamic levitation furnace that uses oxygen gas and carbon dioxide lasers bypass a common problem in the production of materials with a higher alumina content.
Since increased amounts of alumina will sometimes cause a substance to crystallize within a container, the levitation method and carbon dioxide laser melting glass process has proven to be an effective means of adding more alumina without the unwanted crystallization.
The Challenge Of Scaling Up
While the production method and resulting glass has proven to have considerable potential, there is still the challenge of scaling up the process so the material can be brought to the market.
Mass-production methods are currently being explored, and according to the research team, a commercialized technique is expected to be established within five years.