Building Design

Transparent Aluminium, a Possible Future Construction Material?

What was once thought impossible to create (transparent aluminium) has been achieved and realised and an incredibly strong possible, future glass replacement. Aluminium Oxynitride or AION, has been produced through a very difficult process which entails pressurising aluminium oxynitride powder to 15,000 pounds per inch, in rubber moulds, submerged in hydraulic fluid. The material is then heated to 2,000 degrees Celsius and kept at that temperature for two days. Once cooled, a transparent sheet, ready to be grinded and polished, emerges.

This incredible material has mind-boggling strength and can be used in many applications, for example, as bullet-resistant glass that can stop a .50 calibre round travelling at 2,700 feet-per-second with less than half of the thickness of traditional bullet-resistant glass, that would still fail to stop that same round.

Potentially AION could be used in construction to create large and very strong glass-like structures, if the process of its creation could be simplified and increased to a larger scale. Maybe one day, this will be the case.