Scientists in Japan have created a new type of ultra-hard glass, which is also thin, by using alumina which is an oxide of aluminium.
could be many commercial applications once the glass can be made
available, from very strong window panes for buildings to car windows
and much stronger mobile phone screens.
The glass is a type of
'oxide glass' which is made mainly from silicon dioxide but with greater
strength provided by the inclusion of alumina.
There have been
problems creating glass with increased amounts of alumina in the past
because the mixture would crystallise when meeting the sides of the
container, stopping the development of useful glass.
scientists from the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of
Tokyo have managed to use oxygen gas to raise the elements into the air
before using a laser to melt them into glass.
The glass produced
is colourless and transparent like normal glass, but extremely hard -
when tested, the stiffness was greater than some metals, and not far off
the performance of steel.
The team are looking to establish a
method to mass-produce the glass as soon as possible, with the aim of
making it commercially available within five years.
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