Researchers in Japan have developed a type of glass that is close to being unbreakable.
Reported last month in the journal Scientific Reports, the research team claims the glass is as strong as steel and hope it could one day lead to stronger windows and table tops.
“We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly,” Atsunobu Masuno, an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science and an author on the study told the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. “We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years.”
Currently, oxide glass is strengthened by mixing in alumina, an oxide of aluminum. But scientists have struggled to develop glass containing large amounts of alumina, since that often causes crystallization when it brushes up against any kind of container.
To solve that problem, the researchers came up with a technique that bypasses the container entirely and allows the chemical components to mix together in air. The end result is colorless, transparent and extremely durable glass.