Glass from a place like Tri -County Glass Solutions Of Cambridge Inc is quickly becoming so much more than the standard recipe that mixes sand, soda powder and quicklime and heats until transparent. Scientific breakthroughs are changing the way the world thinks of glass: no more is it a single material, but a whole collection of building materials capable of delivering so much more than windows to your world.
There's a lot about glass, the science of glass, and it's sci-fi sounding uses that you may not know.
Glass to Heal Broken Bones
A type of glass implant has shown promise in the repair of injured or broken bones, according to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology. The implants have been shown to be strong enough to handle the pressure and weight of walking, lifting, and other repetitive movements common to the human body. The glass is formed into a type of "porous scaffolding" that appears to integrate with bone and actually promotes bone growth.
Don't throw the window cleaner away just yet. There's a new method of creating textures on the surface of glass that eliminates reflection and glare, and causes water and dirt to bounce right off its surface. This is a promising development that could be applied to optical devices, car windows, the screens of smartphones and televisions, and solar panels, which have to be clean and clear to be effective.
Interactive Glass Technologies
You've seen the science fiction movies with touch-screen images on transparent vertical and horizontal surfaces? Innovators are working to produce glass that is very stable, incredibly smooth, and able to handle the high processing temperatures needed for touch-friendly interactive glass surfaces. Fusion processes blend raw materials into glass, which is then melted and fed into a channel called an "isopipe". The molten glass flows evenly over both sides of the channel where it fuses at the bottom to become a continuous sheet of extraordinarily flat glass that requires no additional surface grinding or polishing. Result: intelligent glass.
New types of glass are becoming available for architectural uses that are more energy efficient and recyclable, create sound-proof barriers and filter harmful UV rays. Look for the latest designs with glass countertops, walls, ceilings and artistic floor panels that can be lit up with LED technology, tinted or shaded, and yes, may even contain interactive technology capability.
Death Rays, For Real
Laser beams involve filtering spectrums of light through a manufactured glass lens to produce a focused single fine line. Advances in laser beam technology have produced extremely short (fractions of a second) pulses that create so-called "superhighways" in the air. What does this mean? Atmospheric pollution could be more easily detected and identified. It could lead to redirecting lightning away from populated areas. And yes, death rays, or directed-energy weapons, that are designed to burn or destroy a target are closer to reality.
Is Glass Solid or Liquid?
The scientific debate may finally be over. Recent research confirms it is neither a solid nor liquid. Its atoms are in a type of suspended animation, actually moving or vibrating. You won't see the change in your lifetime, not even in several lifetimes, but scientists assure us: glass is continually changing.