Star Trek's Transparent Aluminum A Near-Reality

By StarTrek.com Staff - January 21, 2012

Don’t you just love it when Star Trek’s fiction becomes reality? It’s happening more and more. The latest case in point: the transparent aluminum that “Professor Scott” swapped for plexiglass in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. According to the Daily Mail newspaper in England, it’s not quite there yet, but it’s inching closer, as scientists have devised a transparent aluminum-based ceramic – aluminium oxynitride -- that’s almost as strong as metallic aluminum. Referred to as AION, the material is four times harder than fused silica glass, 85 per cent as hard as sapphire and stable up to a temperature of 1,200C. And how strong is AION? Strong enough, at 1.6 inches thick, to stop .50-caliber bullets which can easily penetrate more than twice that thickness of conventional laminated glass armor.

Did we mention it’s transparent?

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