Point of order:
NICHOLS: Transparent aluminum?
SCOTT: That's the ticket, laddie.
NICHOLS: It would take years just to figure out the dynamics of this matrix.
McCOY: Yes, but you'd be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
SCOTT: So, is it worth something to you? Or should I just punch up "clear"?
The whale tank was not made of transparent aluminum, since Nichols would've needed years to figure out how to make it based on the formula. The formula was how Scotty paid for the Plexiglas that was actually used to make the whale tank.