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Transparent Aluminum: A Revolutionary Material for the Future

Transparent aluminum is a fascinating and futuristic material that has many advantages and disadvantages. It is a material that was first mentioned in the 1986 science fiction film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where the crew of the USS Enterprise used it to construct a tank for transporting two humpback whales. However, transparent aluminum is also a real material that was invented in the 1980s by researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The first transparent aluminum samples were produced in 1985 by sintering aluminum oxynitride powder at high temperature and pressure. The first commercial transparent aluminum products were introduced in the 1990s by Surmet Corporation, a company that produces and markets transparent aluminum products.


What is Transparent Aluminum?

Transparent aluminum, also known as aluminum oxynitride or ALON, is a type of polycrystalline ceramic with a cubic spinel crystal structure. A polycrystalline ceramic is a material that consists of many small crystals that are bonded together. A cubic spinel crystal structure is a geometric arrangement of atoms that forms a cube with eight atoms at the corners and one atom in the center. The chemical formula of transparent aluminum is Al23O27N5, which means that it contains 23 atoms of aluminum, 27 atoms of oxygen, and 5 atoms of nitrogen.

How is Transparent Aluminum Made?

Transparent aluminum is made from aluminum oxynitride powder, which is a mixture of aluminum, oxygen, and nitrogen. The powder is pressed into rubber molds and subjected to high pressure (15,000 pounds per inch) in a hydraulic press. The resulting material, which is opaque and molded, is then heated to 2000 °C and kept at this temperature for two days. The material is then cooled, ground, and polished to achieve transparency and strength.

How Strong is Transparent Aluminum?

Transparent aluminum has many advantages over other transparent materials, such as glass, sapphire, and diamond. Transparent aluminum is optically transparent (≥ 80%) in the near-ultraviolet, visible, and mid-wave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This means that it can transmit light of different wavelengths and colors, making it useful for optical and infrared systems. Transparent aluminum is also four times as hard as fused silica glass, 85% as hard as sapphire, and nearly 115% as hard as magnesium aluminate spinel. This means that it can resist scratches, cracks, and impacts, making it ideal for harsh environments. Transparent aluminum can also withstand temperatures up to 1200 °C and resist various acids, bases, and water. This means that it can maintain its stability and performance under extreme conditions, making it suitable for high-temperature and high-pressure applications.


Transparent Aluminum Price

The price of transparent aluminum depends on the size, shape, and quality of the product. According to Surmet Corporation, the price of transparent aluminum ranges from $10 to $15 per square inch for windows and plates, and from $3,000 to $5,000 per piece for domes and other complex

Application of Transparent Aluminum

Transparent aluminum is a revolutionary material that has many potential applications in various industries, such as aerospace, military, and electrical.

•  Infrared windows: Transparent aluminum can be used as infrared windows for sensors, cameras, and lasers, as it has high transparency and low absorption in the infrared region. Transparent aluminum windows can also withstand high temperatures, pressures, and impacts, making them ideal for harsh environments.

•  Sensor components: Transparent aluminum can be used as sensor components, such as lenses, prisms, and mirrors, for optical and infrared systems. Transparent aluminum components can provide high optical quality, low dispersion, and high thermal stability, making them suitable for high-performance and high-reliability systems.

•  Armor: Transparent aluminum can be used as armor for vehicles, aircraft, and personnel, as it has high strength and hardness, as well as high transparency. Transparent aluminum armor can provide protection against bullets, shrapnel, and blasts, as well as visibility and situational awareness. Transparent aluminum armor can also reduce the weight and thickness of the armor, compared to conventional glass or ceramic armor.

Above is the detailed knowledge of transparent aluminum, transparent aluminum is not widely used in the metal manufacturing industry at present, our understanding of transparent aluminum is still only on the surface, if you need CNC machining services for aluminum materials, you can contact Richconn.

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