Please enable Javascript to use Top Secret Writers to it's fullest. Without it, you will find much of the modern internet doesn't work. I would add a little button hide this message, but that kind of functionality requires Javascript ;)

Another U.S. Judge Speaks Out Against NSA SurveillancePrevious Article
Strange Sounds From Around the WorldNext Article

The Navy’s Amazing Research Into Unbreakable “Glass”

Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print This Article
The Navy’s Amazing Research Into Unbreakable “Glass”
Even bulletproof glass can break (1). Just as important to the military, it’s fairly heavy. But what if you could reduce the weight of the glass and make it stronger? That’s effectively what the Navy has done with a new type of material called Spinel (2).

First off, spinel is not exactly glass. It’s ceramic.

It’s been mined as a gemstone for commercial uses. And it’s tough as armor. Sand won’t scratch it, rain won’t erode it, and a bullet won’t shatter it.

The mineral that makes up spinel is magnesium aluminate. Bulletproof glass, by contrast, is usually made of acrylic or polycarbonate, a type of plastic (3).

Because the Navy often finds itself in hostile environments, they needed something a bit more resistant to force than bulletproof glass.

They needed something they could use in autonomous vehicles (4), head-mounted face shields, and other types of common military equipment so that the materials of war can be made more durable. Through a process called sintering, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) invented a way to make spinel transparent so that it looks like glass.

Another benefit to sintering is the Navy can shape the material to conform to common prototypes, such as airplane windshields. Spinel is tougher, stronger, harder, and more durable than ordinary glass (even bulletproof glass), and you can see through it. Plus, there’s the added benefit that it allows infrared (IR) light to pass through, which glass doesn’t do (5).




How the Navy Will Use Spinel

There are all sorts of uses for spinel, military and commercial. In fact, according to NRL researcher Dr. Jas Sanghera, the Navy plans to hand over its spinel glass technology to the commercial sector.

In order to scale the material for mass use, they licensed it to a private sector company to make 30-inch wide plates.

One method of working with crystals is to use a high-temperature process called crucible. That didn’t work for the Navy and that’s why they turned to sintering.

What the Navy wants to do is equip military vehicles with transparent armor. That could include Army tanks, Air Force airplanes, and Navy submarines. Another use is for face shields.

SCUBA tanks, aviator helmets, combat goggles, and all sorts of other military equipment can be fitted with transparent armor to protect military personnel better. Rather than use thick and heavy bulletproof glass, which wouldn’t be practical for nighttime goggles, for instance, the cost and weight of the goggles can be reduced with spinel.

Another use could be to make better infrared cameras that are used on military vehicles like planes and some of the Army’s combat systems. The military’s current optical gear uses soft, fragile materials in place of glass because, remember, glass doesn’t transmit IR light.

Even NASA can use spinel on its space satellites, which NRL is currently testing.

Laser weapons also use optics where spinel can replace the current material. There are active and passive optics on such systems and both types of optics have their own unique applications. NRL is working on using spinel to replace the current materials for both applications.

hot press spinel

Commercial Applications for Spinel

It’s important when working with transparent materials that the material maintain a certain type of purity as well as quality. Think of diamonds, which are often rated according to a purity scale. In jeweler’s terms, it’s called clarity (6).

Any impurities in glass or other transparent materials could block light from passing through, so it’s important that spinel have a huge purity rating. When it does, it has a lot of practical use commercially and militarily.

Imagine a watch with an unbreakable face, or a cell phone that doesn’t crack when it’s dropped. What if your car windshield was replaced with spinel and didn’t crack when a rock flew up from the vehicle in front of it? These are just a few of the ways spinel can be used in the commercial market.

Any way you look at it, the Navy is on the cutting edge of transparent technology. Glass isn’t all that anymore.

References & Image Credits:
(1) TSSBulletproof.com
(2) Naval Research Laboratory
(3) Explain That Stuff!
(4) The US Defense Department Plans for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
(5) Caltech
(6) Gemological Institute of America
(7) Navy
(8) Navy: Hotpress image

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

Fringe Science

Demonic Magicians: The Truth Behind the Tricks

Demonic Magicians: The Truth Behind the Tricks

We are drawn to the unexplainable. From ancient Roman conjurers debuting the “cup-and-ball” trick to TruTV’s comical Carbonaro Effect, magic has long held its place at the forefront of civilization’s [...]

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

BECOME A PATREON SUPPORTER and decide what stories we investigate!

Donate to Support TSW!





Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
 
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

Join Other Conspiracy Theory Researchers on Facebook!

Get a Top Secret Bumper Sticker!

Comment on Breaking Stories

Powered by Disqus