New Glass Three Times Stronger and Fracture Resistant
Scientists have developed a glass material that is not only three times stronger than conventional glass, but also more than five times more fracture resistant. Technology Briefing
Scientists at McGill University have developed a new glass material that is not only three times stronger than conventional glass, but also more than five times more fracture resistant. Drawing inspiration from nature, the scientists created a new glass and acrylic composite material which mimics mother of pearl. Amazingly, mother of pearl has the rigidity of a stiff material and the durability of a soft material, giving it the best of both worlds. It’s made of stiff pieces of chalk-like matter that are layered with soft proteins that are highly elastic. This structure produces exceptional strength, making it 3000 times tougher than the materials that compose it.
The scientists took the architecture of mother of pearl and replicated it with layers of glass flakes and acrylic. That yielded an exceptionally strong, opaque material that can be produced easily and inexpensively. They then went a step further to make the composite optically transparent. By tuning the refractive index of the acrylic, they made it seamlessly blend with the glass to make a truly transparent composite.
As next steps, the team from McGill plans to improve this design by incorporating smart technology allowing the glass to change its properties, including color, mechanics, and conductivity.