Researchers have developed a new composite glass that is 2-3 times better than laminated and tempered glass to resist impact and bend under pressure.
The transparency and strength of glass make it a popular material in construction, mechanical engineering, electronics, but due to its fragility it is the weakest element of the entire system. Therefore, a team of mechanical engineers from McGill University studied the structure and physics of mother-of-pearl, which consists of fragile mineral plates connected by soft proteins, but at the same time is very tough and provides reliable protection for the shell of the shell, absorbing shock.
To simulate organic material, the team used a pulsed ultraviolet laser that etched square or hexagonal patterns onto 220 micron thick borosilicate glass sheets. Next, the engraved plates were laminated with thin layers of plastic, 125 microns thick. During this process, the sheets of glass are divided into individual tiles, each 1 to 4 mm wide. The layers were aligned and positioned so that the final product mimics the three-dimensional structure of mother-of-pearl and bonded with ethylene vinyl acetate.
During the tests of the new composite, it was found that its impact resistance indicators are two to three times higher than that of tempered or multilayer glass, and 15-24 times higher than that of ordinary glass. However, he only slightly less transparent than traditional laminated glass.
Scientists note that «pearlescent» glass is 10-15% less rigid than ordinary glass, and because of which it can bend under pressure. To compensate for this property, a flat glass plate can be added to increase the overall strength to 90%. laminated glass.
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Going forward, mechanical engineers want to make different composites, such as ultra-thin sheets for touch screens, that can deform and repair without damaging the structure. They also plan to try to create composite wavy shape or with a microscopically rough surface, which can improve its rigidity and other qualities.
In addition to glass, its various substitutes are now increasingly used. Researchers have recently developed a technology for the production of transparent and lightweight polyethylene films, which are close to aluminum in terms of strength and elasticity..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: McGill University