"Unbreakable" glass developed, say researchers

Originally published at: "Unbreakable" glass developed, say researchers | Boing Boing


When anyone calls something unbreakable that’s just hubris (See Titanic)


Send it to me, I can break it.


You know how you break “unbreakable” glass? With another piece of unbreakable glass.


It might be “Unbreakable” but still needs to breath, meaning it’s vulnerable to drowning.


Not glass, it’s a glass/acrylic composite they’re calling “glass”. I’m dubious, as acrylic isn’t generally UV stable over time - it discolors and the mechanical properties change. Still, pretty slick materials engineering so these are smart people and maybe the issues I raise have been tackled.


Yeah, that was my thought as well. I guess you could have a sacrificial layer to mitigate UV exposure or something.

I would rate this as an interesting and plausible invention, but personally I take a wait and see approach on any breakthrough disclosed via University press release… {cough} UtahColdFusion {/cough}


Sounds kind of like Aerogel. Awesome material, you’ll just never see it outside of a lab. You know, obviously we just have to bring that cost to manufacturer down and then it’ll be everywhere. :roll_eyes:

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Give it to a 5 year old and tell them they’ll get something good (a huge bag of candy, a video game, etc.) if they can break it. Once it’s withstood their best efforts for a day I’ll consider calling it unbreakable. Repeat with a 16 year old and a car or something similar and then you’ve got something.

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Unbreakable, eh? I eagerly await the demos.


Little is known of the Terran civilization, which collapsed over 60 Galactic Rotations ago. Geologic processes and a runaway greenhouse effect have scoured the surface of their planet clean of all archaeological evidence. The only surviving artifacts are small, clear panes of glass in the shape of rounded rectangles, believed to have been religious totems.


Curious how the glass armor will hold up, especially if you’re throwing stones.

I just wanted to say the selection of the picture for this article if perfect!


… used for ritual purposes. (Well, they mostly are, let’s be honest.)

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“The Nacred and the Brave”?

It’s a Miracle!

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Ummm…AFAIK, nacre isn’t that hard, as in scratch-resistant. Toughness is a different quality. Diamonds are the hardest mineral by far, yet can be shattered by hitting them just right. The toughest natural stone is probably jade, because of its fibrous nature, so we just need a transparent version of that.

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Well outside of a lab or some NASA applications. Hmmm, some of those are still lab applications (rocket engine tests and such): “launch vehicles, space shuttle applications, life support equipment, and rocket engine test stands”…

…but: “Polar Wrap LLC, is a Memphis, Tennessee, company that buys the material from Aspen Aerogels and then applies its own patented process to encapsulate the aerogel and use it in insoles called Toasty Feet. Designed to fit in the bottom of a boot or shoe, Toasty Feet resists heat loss and heat gain. According to the company, sales totaled over a million and a half pairs in 2009. Their line of insoles includes mens, womens, youth, extra cushion, and arch support”

So looks like it has seem some widespread use.

I was just thinking what this material might be like if fashioned into a blade such as a samurai sword. Guess you’d never see it coming.

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The idea of a transparent, indestructible material reminds me of the General Products Hulls manufactured by the Puppeteers in Larry Niven’s Known Space series.