Time for transparent aluminium

Time for transparent aluminium

One of the latest construction technologies to emerge in this ever changing and futuristic world we live in is transparent aluminium. Aluminium itself has been around a while and is an extremely popular method to use on certain construction projects. It’s light and durable qualities make it one of the most key engineering materials of current times. Combining these qualities with adding a most aesthetically pleasing transparent element could open up a whole host of new possibilities.

Transparent alu

It has been the ambition of engineers for a long time to find a material that combines the strength and durability of metal with the crystal-clear purity of glass. Such a "clear metal" could be used to construct towering glass-walled skyscrapers that require less internal support. This has the added benefit of being tougher, stronger and harder than glass. Known as transparent aluminium, or ALON, the cutting edge material is already being used by the military for making armoured windows and optical lenses.

To put this into technical terms, transparent aluminium is a crystalline substance made of aluminate powder alloys. The basic concept of transparent aluminium is that these powders are highly compressed and heated to extreme temperatures. After some time, the material is then cooled and polished and shaped into its desired form. From being put through certain tests, it has been discovered ALON can resist powerful bullets and is an extremely strong material. This is why it is popular with military projects currently, but the feeling is it will be used more frequently in the near future.

Transparent alu

We shouldn’t be that surprised by the emergence of transparent aluminium. Star Trek fans could have told us this would happen. They may recall in Star Trek: The Voyage Home, a scene where Scotty talks into a computer mouse and then instantly figures out keyboards and gives away the formula for transparent aluminium. So, we were warned, and the feeling is transparent aluminium will live long and prosper.

Will transparent aluminium emerge as a popular construction material for future projects? Join in the discussion on our LinkedIn page.

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