Scientists from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) have managed to create a new type of glass by mixing alumina with silicon dioxide that makes it exceptionally tougher. In the study, IIS scientists used a technique called aerodynamic levitation, which uses gas to push components into the air to synthesize the chemical elements together. Doing so creates a transparent glass, made from 50% alumina that they say is as strong as steel. Previous attempts at adding alumina to glass have failed due to the raw mixture crystalizing when it comes into contact with the container--a problem that this innovative method has addressed.
The practical applications of nearly unbreakable glass are endless, including, but not limited to shatterproof windows for cars and homes as well as indestructible electronics. Further studies need to be done to replicate the success of the initial study on a larger scale, but the Japanese research team at the helm of this project is confident. “We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly. We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years,” says IIS Assistant Professor, Atsunobu Masuno.