These are the first steps of making transparent aluminum. The powder that Megan is currently working with is called aluminum oxynitride.
Aluminum oxynitride is made by carbothermal nitridation and will go through multiple processes in order to eventually make transparent aluminum
So after aluminum oxynitride is made it gets packed into a rubber mold of the desired shape. The mold is then compressed in a hydraulic fluid using pressures up to 103 421.36 kPa which mashes the aluminum oxynitride into a grainy substance that will be fused together with heat for several days.
Where are we going now?
We are going to another lab to see the final product of this process.
At the end of this process the desired shape has been made and is polished to make it transparent. On the right side of Chris is the transparent aluminum.
THAT IS SO COOL!!!!
Transparent aluminum is currently used in windows of army vehicles, in domes of heat seeking missiles as well as in windows of helicopters and other aircraft.
That's interesting, but why isn't regular glass just used instead?
Well...transparent aluminum used in the windows of army vehicles improves the safety of soldiers and allows the windows to be larger. It improves safety because aluminum oxynitride that is 1.6” thick can stop a very large bullet, 50 caliber, whereas bullet-proof glass that is 3.7” thick cannot.