Scientists Create Near Unbreakable Glass That Is As Strong As Steel
Scientists at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science have created a new type of glass that is reportedly as strong as steel – still as light and thin as regular glass. The breakthrough is significant, as it could revolutionize the use of glass in construction sector as well as technology.
“We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly,” Atsunobu Masuno, an assistant professor at the University, told The Asahi Shimbun. “We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years.”
So what’s the secret behind making the new unbreakable glass? Well the regular glass mainly consists of silicon dioxide, with its strength boosted by mixing in alumina, an oxide of aluminum. In the past, researchers have tried to increase the amounts but the oxide causes crystallization when produced in a container.
The scientists have now managed to work around this problem by using a containerless processing technique. They conducted the fabrication process using an aerodynamic levitation furnace: the chemical components were pushed into the air using oxygen gas and melted together using carbon dioxide lasers. This way, they were able to synthesize a transparent, super touch glass, with 50% of it being composed of alumina.
The glass underwent various strength and elasticity tests, which revealed that was twice as strong as typical oxide glass – nearly the same level as steel and iron.