Regardless of its many benefits, glass has one main Achilles’ heel – it’s brittle. Now, engineers at Penn State have developed LionGlass, a brand new kind of the fabric that’s not solely 10 occasions extra harm resistant, however requires considerably much less vitality to fabricate.
Essentially the most generally used type of glass, which you’ll discover in all the things from home windows to ingesting glasses, is technically referred to as soda lime silicate glass. Manufacturing this widespread materials requires furnaces that rise up to 1,500 °C (2,732 °F), which after all consumes a variety of vitality and releases an enormous quantity of carbon dioxide into the ambiance. On high of that, this glass is constructed from quartz sand, soda ash and limestone, the latter two of which launch CO2 when melted.
Now, Penn State researchers have improved the recipe to make glass that’s extra environmentally pleasant to supply, whereas additionally being a lot stronger. The household of latest glass compositions, which the group calls LionGlass, get their new powers by swapping the soda ash and limestone for both aluminium oxide or an iron compound. The silica content material can fluctuate from 40% to 90% by weight.
Swapping out the carbonates not solely cuts their direct emissions throughout melting, however lowers the required temperatures by as much as 400 °C (720 °F). That in flip reduces the vitality consumption by about 30% and as such cuts their emissions.
Higher but, some compositions of LionGlass had been discovered to boast crack resistance that was at the least 10 occasions larger than that of normal soda lime glass. The group examined samples underneath a Vickers diamond indenter, and located that the glass didn’t crack even underneath a force-load of 1 kg (2.2 lb) – by comparability, common glass will begin to crack underneath a load of simply 0.1 kg (0.2 lb). And LionGlass’s crack resistance is probably going even larger than that, however this was as excessive because the testing tools may go.
“We saved rising the burden on LionGlass till we reached the utmost load the tools will permit,” stated Nick Clark, a researcher on the venture. “It merely wouldn’t crack.”
The group says that the advantages of LionGlass might be multiplied in the true world. Due to its larger energy, merchandise made from the fabric may be thinner and lighter.
“We should always have the ability to scale back the thickness and nonetheless get the identical stage of injury resistance,” stated John Mauro, lead researcher on the venture. “If we have now a lighter-weight product, that’s even higher for the surroundings, as a result of we use much less uncooked supplies and want much less vitality to supply it. Even downstream, for transportation, that reduces the vitality required to move the glass, so it is a profitable state of affairs for everybody.”
The group has filed for a patent on LionGlass, and hopes to have the ability to deliver it to market quickly.
Supply: Penn State