Transparent aluminium – it’s real! (Sort of).

This is how my brain works. During a random browse of the BBC web site I post this story on new ‘ultra-thin’ glass. I immediately think of Star Trek IV and Scotty trying to create a tank for the whales they have to transport back to the future, using ultra-thin lightweight, transparent material that hasn’t been invented using 1980s technology. As I’m sure we can all agree, that’s always a tricky one.

In the film this was called, ‘transparent aluminium.’ (or rather Transparent Aluminum – as the Americans say it).

And get this, it’s real! Sort of.

Transparent aluminum

It’s actually called, “aluminum oxynitride or AlON” and it’s not actually metallic, it’s a ceramic. But It is an incredibly tough transparent material so that will do me. My favourite bit is that fact that while it’s only recently been actually developed, the theory was knocking about in the mid-80’s and the Star Trek writers could well have heard of it, and used it in the script.

Star Trek always had a knack of presaging real technology – communicators and mobile phones being the most famous example – warp drive and transporters less so. But whatevs – transparent aluminium baby!


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