Tough-as-Steel Glass Breaks Mold
The glass could become available in five years.
Glass is notoriously breakable. Just ask any twelve-year-boy carrying a bat and searching for his baseball.
But scientists are keenly interested in making glass resilient because people really want windows that don't shatter and you can say same thing for screens on laptops and phones.
A team from the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science are working toward that goal. They say they've created glass that's nearly as strong as steel.
Making the material seems surprisingly simple. They mixed alumina, an oxide of aluminum, with silicon dioxide.
Others have tried this before, but as soon as they added the alumina to the silicon dixoide inside a container, the mixture crystallized and glass didn't form.
So to get around that problem, the scientists eliminated the pesky container. Instead, they used gas to push the chemical components together. It worked!
The result was a transparent glass nearly as strong as steel and iron.
"We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly," said Atsunobu Masuno in an interview. Masuno is an assistant professor at the Institute of Industrial Science. "We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years," he added.
Masuno and his colleagues reported their findings earlier this month in Scientific Reports by Nature.
A sheet of graphene is thin, just a single atom thick.