Broken glass (Oliver H/Wikimedia Commons)

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Japanese scientists create glass “as strong as steel”

3 November 2015 | By Joe Quirke | 1 Comment

A team from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science has created a type of glass that is almost as strong as steel, and has the potential to act as a new structural material in construction – as well as preventing smart phones from cracking when dropped on concrete.

We will establish a way to mass produce the new material shortly. We are looking to commercialise the technique within five years– Atsunobu Masuno, University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science

The substance is strengthened by adding aluminium oxide to silicon dioxide, a process that is difficult to effect using conventional techniques because the compound crystallises when it makes contact with another solid, and this prevents glass from forming in the normal way.

The researchers were able to solve this difficulty by using gas to push the aluminium oxide into the silicon, so the substance does not come into contact with any surfaces.

The new glass, half of which is made up of aluminium, is thought to be twice as strong as normal glass.

Atsunobu Masuno, an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science, is quoted in Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun as saying: “We will establish a way to mass produce the new material shortly. We are looking to commercialise the technique within five years.”

Download a report on the research via journal Nature.

Image: Broken glass (Oliver H/Wikimedia Commons)