Inspired, by the inner layer of mollusk shells, Researchers at McGill University have developed the strongest and toughest glass. In comparison to standard glass, it is about five times more resistant to fractures. It could be used in improving the life of cell phone screens and many other applications.
The inner layer of a mollusk shell is tough and strong. Known as nacre or mother-of-pearl, the shell is arranged in a brickwork structure. This structure helps in improving the strength and also stops cracks from propagating.
Researchers created a new glass and acrylic composite material that offers a combination of strength, toughness, and transparency.
Earlier also researchers made glass by mimicking nacre. But in spite of improved strength and toughness, it reduced transparency.
In this new study, to maintain the transparency of glass, the researchers tuned the refractive index of the acrylic. They tuned it in the way that it matched that of the glass. So the resultant material was not only stronger and tougher than regular glass but was also transparent.
Allen Ehrlicher, the corresponding author of the study, said, “Until now there were trade-offs between high strength, toughness, and transparency,” “Our new material is not only three times stronger than the normal glass, but also more than five times more fracture-resistant.”
Now the team is working on investigating the ways to change the properties of glass.