Assistant Professor Atsunobu Masuno of the University of Tokyo and others have succeeded in developing colorless and transparent glass by mixing aluminum oxide and tantalum oxide, which were previously thought to be non-glass.It boasts the highest strength among the oxide glasses known so far, and is expected to be applied to electronic substrates, building materials, cover glass, etc. as a thin and durable new material.
In order to increase the strength of glass, it is necessary to make the gaps between atoms as narrow as possible, but there is a dilemma that it becomes difficult to make glass when atoms are tightly packed.This is because the atoms of glass are arranged irregularly, but it is necessary to arrange them regularly in order to narrow the gap.The group focused on the fact that atoms can be arranged neatly due to the influence of the container used when making glass, and examined a method for synthesizing glass with the material floating in the air.We have succeeded in synthesizing a number of special glasses by this method, but this time we succeeded in synthesizing glass from aluminum oxide and tantalum pentoxide.It has also been shown to have strength closer to steel than ordinary glass.The group then also investigated why it had such high strength.When we investigated whether aluminum atoms and tantalum atoms were distributed in the glass with an electron microscope, we found that the uniform distribution of the two types of atoms realized a state in which the atoms were densely packed.
It can be said that this achievement is the realization of a new glass that is not bound by conventional wisdom.With the same policy, there are growing expectations that glass can be made from other substances that were thought to be difficult to make into glass.In the future, the framework of glass research, including applications, may be significantly expanded.
Source:[University of Tokyo] Successful development of ultra-high elasticity glass (PDF)