Abstract Transparent metal has been a science fiction dream of our society for decades. The idea of an ultra-strong, durable material with any hint of transparency has developed over time, and the dev..
Abstract Transparent metal has been a science fiction dream of our society for decades. The idea of an ultra-strong, durable material with any hint of transparency has developed over time, and the development of glass itself has spanned thousands of years. Anodization has been around for decades, but the anodized coating has always been considered more of a “treatment” process than a distinct material on the face of the underlying metal. In the laboratory, transparent aluminum glass already has patents for production using a sintering method. This method is extremely dependent on specialized equipment and costs around $10 per square inch. The end products here are similar: both methods produce some form of aluminum oxide. In the sintering method, other materials are doped into the aluminum material to give the glass product different characteristics. The most important end-product from either of these methods is aluminum oxide, Al2O3. The proposed research in this document hopes to grow a thick enough layer of this aluminum oxide and then remove the underlying layer of aluminum, which should leave behind a layer of aluminum glass. There are two main challenges to overcome: it is widely believed that anodize layers can only be so thick before their growth stops, and there is some uncertainty about whether the aluminum oxide layer can be separated from the underlying aluminum layer without destroying the glass. To solve the first challenge, our team will lay out a method of experimentation to find the failure point of the anodizing method and explore new methods as necessary to find the absolute upper limit, if there is one, of anodized aluminum layers. To combat the second problem, a variety of methods will be explored to attempt separation of the anodized aluminum layer from the underlying metal, including abrasion and heating. If this method can be proven, and these challenges can be overcome, the next step will be to attempt the same process on titanium. Titanium, like aluminum, creates a crystalline layer of Titanium oxide on its surface when anodized. Our team anticipates that if titanium crystal glass can be created, the properties of such novel materials will have far-reaching implications in the worlds of aerospace and defense.