# U.S. Naval Research Lab develops transparent aluminum

1. Nov 13, 2015

### davenn

All the scifi geeks will get this

yet again scifi becomes reality

http://www.bdcnetwork.com/us-naval-...ransparent-aluminum?eid=223056823&bid=1229250

just a little hint

.......Transparent aluminum ? ...
that's the ticket laddie .....
it would take year just to figure out the dynamics of this matrix .....
yes, but you would be rich beyond the dreams of Everest ...
now is that worth something to you, or should I just push clear ?

decided to put this in here rather than engineering

cheers
Dave

2. Nov 13, 2015

### Borg

Sometimes I think that science fiction is the engine that drives science.

3. Nov 13, 2015

### davenn

uh huh ... I suspect much truth in that statement

4. Nov 13, 2015

### phinds

Dave, your title is very misleading. This is not aluminum at all. It is a ceramic compound. Very neat but still, not aluminum.

5. Nov 13, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

... so no one will be abduct some whales.

6. Nov 13, 2015

### jackwhirl

I like to think of sapphire as transparent aluminum.

7. Nov 13, 2015

### phinds

Why would you like to think something that obviously isn't true?

8. Nov 13, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

Isn't sapphire just rusty aluminium? $Al_2O_3$

9. Nov 13, 2015

### jackwhirl

Because I enjoyed Star Trek IV as a child, it pleases me to utilize a definition less stringent than yours. Why should I not?

10. Nov 13, 2015

### phinds

Ah. Poetic license. OK.

11. Nov 13, 2015

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
That's rather odd. I can understand if you say "aluminum OXIDE". But saying that it is the same as aluminum is like saying that common table salt is sodium. Would you swallow sodium?

Zz.

12. Nov 13, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

I would swallow hydrogen oxide rather than hydrogen chloride!

13. Nov 13, 2015

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Well, good for you, but that really wasn't my question, was it? I'm sure there are infinite number of things you'd rather swallow instead of something else.

Zz.

14. Nov 13, 2015

### jackwhirl

I don't think that is a particularly fair comparison. Sapphire has properties like the fictional transparent aluminum and is made out of aluminum. Elemental sodium has properties that make it very much not like table salt.

15. Nov 13, 2015

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
"fictional transparent aluminum"? Oh sorry, I didn't realize that we were comparing something with a unicorn.

Al2O3 has more "O" in it than "Al". So if we are counting on composition, one has more legitimacy to say that is made out of oxygen than aluminum.

But this is neither here nor there. It is a different beast entirely than aluminum and share little to no characteristics of aluminum.

Zz.

16. Nov 13, 2015

### jackwhirl

OP was clearly referring to such.
By number of atoms, sure. Not by mass.

17. Nov 13, 2015

### SrayD

Agree with you jackwhirl, not a fair comparison. Though better than one I got from them recently; noticing a pattern.

18. Nov 13, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

As in $H_2O_2$? (Also known as hydrogen peroxide, as opposed to di-hydrogen monoxide, or more familiarly, $H_2O$.)

19. Nov 13, 2015

### Dr. Courtney

Spinel and AlON have both been referred to as "transparent aluminum" and have been around for a while. I'm not sure what's really new from the article, which is not clear about it. Maybe, it is a newer, cheaper way to make the stuff. "Transparent aluminum" as a name is playing fast and loose with the language, but if lots of different alloys can still be called "aluminum" with a modifying adjective, then it follows the same trend to do it with metal ceramics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_oxynitride

We've done a lot of testing with AlON over the past few years. It is very expensive, like \$1k for a plate 6"x6"x0.25". It is a good candidate for transparent armor in several applications, but its cost is the biggest factor limiting adoption. A manufacturing process to make either Spinel of AlON much more cost effective would be a welcome advance.

20. Nov 13, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

neither; $HO$