Transparent Aluminum?

Bullet resistant too... great for sunglasses sold on eBay.
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id 3012131
Air Force testing new transparent armor
by Laura Lundin Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs
10/17/2005 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor -- stronger and lighter than traditional materials -- that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.
The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.
The test is being done in conjunction with the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., and University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio.
ALONtm is a ceramic compound with a high compressive strength and durability. When polished, it is the premier transparent armor for use in armored vehicles, said. 1st Lt. Joseph La Monica, transparent armor sub-direction lead
"The substance itself is light years ahead of glass," he said, adding that it offers "higher performance and lighter weight."
Traditional transparent armor is thick layers of bonded glass. The new armor combines the transparent ALONtm piece as a strike plate, a middle section of glass and a polymer backing. Each layer is visibly thinner than the traditional layers.
ALONtm is virtually scratch resistant, offers substantial impact resistance, and provides better durability and protection against armor piercing threats, at roughly half the weight and half the thickness of traditional glass transparent armor, said the lieutenant.
In a June 2004demonstration, an ALONtm test pieces held up to both a .30 caliber Russian M-44 sniper rifle and a .50 caliber Browning Sniper Rifle with armor piercing bullets. While the bullets pierced the glass samples, the armor withstood the impact with no penetration.
In extensive testing, ALONtm has performed well against multiple hits of .30 caliber armor piercing rounds -- typical of anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant La Monica said. Tests focusing on multiple hits from .50 caliber rounds and improvised explosive devices are in the works.
The lieutenant is optimistic about the results because the physical properties and design of the material are intended to stop higher level threats.
"The higher the threat, the more savings you're going to get," he said. "With glass, to get the protection against higher threats, you have to keep building layers upon layers. But with ALONtm, the material only needs to be increased a few millimeters."
This ability to add the needed protection with only a small amount of material is very advantageous, said Ron Hoffman, an investigator at University of Dayton Research Institute.
"When looking at higher level threats, you want the protection, not the weight," Mr. Hoffman said. "Achieving protection at lighter weights will allow the armor to be more easily integrated into vehicles."
Mr. Hoffman also pointed out the benefit of durability with ALONtm.
"Eventually, with a conventional glass surface, degradation takes place and results in a loss of transparency," Mr. Hoffman said. "Things such as sand have little or no impact on ALONtm, and it probably has a life expectancy many times that of glass."
The scratch-resistant quality will greatly increase the transparency of the armor, giving military members more visual awareness on the battlefield.
"It all comes down to survivability and being able to see what's out there and to make decisions while having the added protection," Mr. Hoffman said.
The Army is looking to use the new armor as windows in ground vehicles, like the Humvee, Lieutenant La Monica said. The Air Force is exploring its use for "in-flight protective transparencies for low, slow-flying aircraft. These include the C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II and helicopters.
While some see the possibilities of this material as limitless, manufacturability, size and cost are issues the lab is dealing with before the armor can transition to the field, the lieutenant said.
"Traditional transparent armor costs a little over $3 per square inch. The ALONtm Transparent Armor cost is $10 to $15 per square inch," Lieutenant La Monica said. "The difficulties arise with heating and polishing processes, which lead to higher costs. But we are looking at more cost effective alternatives."
Lieutenant La Monica said experimenting with the polishing process has proven beneficial.
"We found that by polishing it a certain way, we increased the strength of the material by two-fold," he said.
Currently, size is also limited because equipment needed to heat larger pieces is expensive. To help lower costs, the lieutenant said researchers are looking at design variations that use smaller pieces of the armor tiled together to form larger windows.
Lowering cost by using a commercial grade material is also an option, and the results have been promising.
"So far, the difference between the lower-grade material and higher purity in ballistic tests is minimal," he said.
Lieutenant La Monica said once the material can be manufactured in large quantities to meet the military's needs, and the cost brought down, the durability and strength of ALONtm will prove beneficial to the warfighter.
"It might cost more in the beginning, but it is going to cost less in the long run because you are going to have to replace it less," he said.
(Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)
I'm wondering how long before this stuff is outsourced to china and then the cheaper product used in vests and limos.
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On Wed, 19 Oct 2005 04:52:58 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm,

Scotty is rolling over in his grave at this revelation of his Transparent Aluminum for non-whale-retrieval use.
----------------------------------------------- I'll apologize for offending someone...right after they apologize for being easily offended. ----------------------------------------------- http://www.diversify.com Inoffensive Web Design
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Larry, I don't recognize the reference. Please elucidate. Use e-mail if you think it appropiate. :-) ...lew...
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As in Beam Me Up Scotty?
http://www.allscifi.com/Topics/Info_3489.asp
"In the process Scotty gives the formula for transparent aluminum, Chekov gets hurt and Kirk uncharacteristically passes on a chance at romance with Gillian."
Tim
-- Deep Fryer: a very philosophical monk. Website: http://webpages.charter.net/dawill/tmoranwms
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On Wed, 19 Oct 2005 13:46:45 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, Lew

Engineer Scott on the Enterprise in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. They gave the secret to a plexiglass manufacturer so they could retrofit a Klingon Bird of Prey to carry enough seawater + a whale back to the future to save the Earth from a planet-eating ship which spoke "whale". ;) Just watch the movie. It was one of their better ones with lots of self-deprecating humor and Catherine Hicks in her best and most babelicious years.
----------------------------------------------- I'll apologize for offending someone...right after they apologize for being easily offended. ----------------------------------------------- http://www.diversify.com Inoffensive Web Design
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Beam me up Scotty - when they flew back in time to pick up a Hump back whale. Needed Transparent Al.... Scotty provided a local glass company owner the special spec for the sample slabs.
Computer ::: Oh Computer :: - what is this thing - picks up mouse - looks at keyboard and flexes fingers.....
Martin Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH, NRA Life NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Lew Hartswick wrote:

-
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SHAME ON YOU!!!
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The part that grabs my attention (as a wearer of corrective lenses not in contact with the eyeball) is that whole "scratch resistance" thing... I'm forever cussing at the cost involved in replacing a set of glasses due to the "fog" of scratches that sooner or later collect on my lenses, regardless of how carefully I handle them.
If this stuff can be worked into lenses, I'd be thrilled to have a set made out of it, since it might *FINALLY* mean I'd get to look through scratch-free lenses for more than the first few weeks after getting a new pair...
--
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<SNIP>

Don, it all depends on the light refraction index of the stuff. One might find that the thickness of the new material to get the prescription you (read that: we) need, the thickness/weight might be well in excess of regular glasses'lenses. This might mean even more weight on our noses, so I guess (my) plastic lenses will have to do until they are prooven better. Keep ur fingers crossed!!! Bill
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wrote:

Possible, but from the article, it sounds as though one of the *BIG* factors in this "ALON" stuff is the weight reduction versus glass. How much of that is the "Well, since you only need an eighth of an inch of this stuff to get the equivalent armoring of a 4 inch thick chunk of tempered glass, OF COURSE there's less weight" factor is pure guesswork based on the info available so far, but it does at least sound promising.

Yep... Even if the stuff IS suitable for applications like eyeglasses, there's still the "military lag" factor... Us civilians likely won't see any benefit from it for years, if ever.
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Ayyyup! Bill
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Just like mini computers and transistors.
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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wrote:

I'll go further and say, like just about everything we use in our lives. Despite the chorus of "War, what is it good for?" from all the blathering "peaceniks", human conflict (or conflict avoidance through superior military strength) has driven virtually every significant technological advance since the dawn of civilization through today. Mind you, I'm not advocating warmongering for the sake of driving innovation. I'm just reporting the facts (before the social revisionists rewrite human history).
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wrote:

And we of course cannot leave out the spin offs in medical. Not just the toys, but the basic treatments.
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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Looks like it already available in the right forms. Yoy might just have t ask for a price
http://www.surmet.com/docs/Processing_ALON.pdf
BillP wrote:

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BillP wrote:

I can remember many technologies where the lag has been in the other direction. Sometimes getting a new material or new electronic technology through the mil spec certification means that military applications lag civil ones. Transistor is a good example.
Same with ICs. While I did not work directly on the VHSIC program, others in my group did, and it was funny to see commercial ICs come out that were better, more transistors, and fast before the results of the VHSIC program ever made it to production.
There were, and still are, commercial values for high tech electronics. I also remember seeing carbon fiber make it to commercial uses before it was used in production military aircraft.
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It depends a lot on how big the civilian market is and actual production cost. I think transistors were being used in consumer portable radios while the Army still was using tubes in walkie talkies. Kevlar was used in tires long before NASA would use it. No mil spec.
Dan
Don Stauffer wrote:

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I have prescription safety glasses and I work with abrasives every day, both silicon carbide and aluminium oxide stones and paper/cloth, wheels, etc. I have no scratches on my glasses and have had them for nearly two years.
Mine are made by AOSafety and have the thicker lenses (as opposed to the polycarbonate). They're thicker but I think cost less. It occurs to me now that they might be more scratch resistant (important where I work).
Regards,
Robin
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Robin S. wrote:

Robin- You're apparently fortunate in that your exposure to extreem abrasives is one where you apparently don't have the stuff slung in your face on a constant basis. I constantly have muddy and sandy slurry in my face and cannot stop to rinse it off, so it often dries on. (I often CANNOT let go of what I'm doing) Dried on mud and fine sandy deposits do NOT just rinse off, so the scratches, as careful as I am in cleaning my polycarbonate glasses, the scratches still aren't avoidable. ...And where I get my glasses, they charge almost DOUBLE for glass lenses. Bill
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wrote:

ONLY double???
The place I went for mine wanted nearly triple the price of polycarbonate, then an extra $70 on top of it for a "scratch-guard" coating, *PLUS* an extra week and $40 for what they called a "drop test" (involving some sort of "calibrated" ball bearing being dropped on each lens from some specific height after it was completed, which they claimed was FDA-mandated for all glass lenses) that had no guarantees of not smashing the lenses and having to start over from sratch.
They got told to keep the glass, much as I hate the damn scratch-happy plastic lenses.
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