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[APD] Transparent Aluminum Ceramic -- The new glass?

A new material, ALONtm, is essentially a transparent
aluminum ceramic (a corund-like substance), many times
stronger than glass.  It's being tested for ballistic
protection by the military (windows on vehicles and
aircraft, etc.)

It's *very* resistent to wear and scratching, and
can resist heavy ballistic impact.  Currently it's
expensive ... $10-$15 per square inch, compared to
glass ballistic laminates at $3 per square inch.
(The price will come down as they figure out 
manufacturing scaling.)

I'm particularly curious about the index of 
refraction, or transmission efficiency (which isn't
mentioned in the article).  But, this stuff is
*much* lighter and thinner than glass, and very
much stronger ... sounds like millimeters instead
of inches for the same strength.

When they make it cost effective, though, this 
stuff could be *ideal* for our planted tanks
(especially for marine systems with very abrasive
substrates and precipitates, and weird critters that
like to break the sides of tanks).


Of course, "Sapphire" glass is basically a crystal
aluminum oxide (first synthesized 100 years ago),
and is scratch resistent, so this isn't entirely
new.  This does sound like some very good tech
for materials science, though, particularly relevant
to aquariums.


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