Scientists in China have developed a new type of glass, called AM-III, which is so hard it can leave s scratch on a diamond. We are used to saying this the other way round, that diamonds could cut glass. Well, this new type of glass can leave deep scratches in diamonds.
It doesn’t look this this new type of glass is going to start replacing double glazing any time soon, but there are some commercial properties which will make it a potentially useful material in the years to come.
The title of AM-III is a placeholder until a better name is found. But that’s all we have for now. However, AM-III isn’t glass as such, but it does have a yellowy glassy appearance, hence why it is being called glass.
AM-III is made from carbon and is also a semiconductor. The fact that this new material can conduct will give it a whole host of other opportunities away from glass, such as use in weapons and other devices. It is said to be almost as efficient as silicone. In a hardness test, which is measured in gigapascals (GPa), it scored 113. Naturally occurring diamonds, for example, reach between 50-70. That gives you some idea as to how hard this new glass product actually is.
As well as being a semiconductor, it is said that AM-III glass could be anywhere between 20 to 100 times stronger than the current crop of bulletproof glass products currently in use. This would make it an attractive product to those involved in the production of security glass, any business involved with the protection of high-level targets and personnel and of course highly secure buildings.
All in the atoms
The key to AM-III being so strong is down to the arrangement of atoms. In a diamond, for example, atoms are stacked and arranged neatly and tightly packed together. That is what gives a diamond its very hard quality. AM-III however is a mix of glass and crystals. According to Yahoo News:
Under a microscope, the most detailed structures of the material appeared in order, just like crystals. But zooming out a bit would change the picture into a complete mess that looks like countless worms frozen in a dish.
That mix of order and disorder is what may allow AM-III to possess some of its unique qualities. To find out more about how it was made, click the link on Yahoo News above.
AM-III can apparently be made into any size or shape. This product is still in early stages, and from here there will likely be more research done into how AM-III can be put to work, how it can be made in larger volumes and then of course at what price the product would cost a company to buy and put it into commercial use.
So if you’re in the part of the fenestration market that deals with high security or protection glass, keep an eye on this one as this might well be a game-changer in the years to come.
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