Japanese researchers say they have developed a new type of glass which is almost as hard as steel, which could be ideal for screens used in mobile devices and displays.
"We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly," said Atsunobu Masuno, an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science told Asahi Shimbun. "We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years."
The findings were published earlier this month in Scientific Reports by Nature where the abstract reads "Glasses with high elastic moduli have been in demand for many years because the thickness of such glasses can be reduced while maintaining its strength. Moreover, thinner and lighter glasses are desired for the fabrication of windows in buildings and cars, cover glasses for smart-phones and substrates in Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) displays. In this work, we report a 54Al2O3-46Ta2O5 glass fabricated by aerodynamic levitation which possesses one of the highest elastic moduli and hardness for oxide glasses also displaying excellent optical properties. The glass was colorless and transparent in the visible region, and its refractive index nd was as high as 1.94. The measured Young's modulus and Vickers hardness were 158.3 GPa and 9.1 GPa, respectively, which are comparable to the previously reported highest values for oxide glasses. "
The scientists used alumina, an oxide of aluminum, mixed with silicon dioxide. They said that previous attempts to use alumina in glass have been unsuccessful as it crystallises when it touches the sides of any container. To overcome this problem the team used a containerless process by using gas to push the chemical components into the air where they synthesised to form a very tough glass.
Sources: Nature, University of Tokyo
Top image: Advanced Computers