Bill Gates invents transparent aluminium!

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Ensign_Redshirt, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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  2. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Oh hey, a "transparent aluminum invented" announcement. Must be Tuesday.
     
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Corundum is transparent aluminum compound, or aluminium if you're European.
     
  4. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Inaccurate. The article only said they were using "transparent aluminum" in the watch's construction. Someone else invented it.
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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  6. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Alumina-based glass has been around for ages, and every time someone develops a new application for it, someone in the media screams "Hey, they invented transparent aluminum!" But alumina (aluminum oxide) is not aluminum any more than water is hydrogen or salt is chlorine. It's rock, not metal. And it's not even remotely surprising for alumina (aka corundum, aka emery) to be transparent, because it's the stuff that rubies and sapphires are made of.

    And what's bizarre is that one of these stories crops up every few months, and yet somehow people don't remember the multiple previous times this "invention" was "announced."
     
  8. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Is it an abundant precious stone? If not, I don't see how Microsoft can mass produce and sell these watches cost effectively to average consumers.
     
  9. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It's not precious, really. Alumina is just aluminum oxide, pretty common stuff. Rubies and emeralds are precious gems that have aluminum compounds in them, but they wouldn't be used in such an application.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Like I said, alumina is also called emery. As in emery boards. It's the stuff we use to file our nails. It's a common but very hard substance, and that means that alumina-based glass and ceramics can be much stronger and more durable than silica-based glass and ceramics, which is why it's useful for things like vehicle armor and durable watch faces.
     
  11. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Illegitimus non carborundum!
     
  12. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Apple is a cheap ass then for not using it on the original iPhone/ iPad. Just think of the number of people with cracked screens that this could have helped avoid if it is as common and old technology as you say.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^You misunderstand. The basic material that this type of glass is made from is commonplace, but making it into useful glass with the desired properties still requires finding the right formula. Yes, it's stupid the way the media insists on calling it "transparent aluminum," but that doesn't mean there isn't some real cutting-edge materials science involved in the current research to develop alumina-based ceramics and glasses for new applications.

    After all, regular glass is essentially made from sand, but that doesn't mean it's the same thing as sand. It takes skill and knowhow to transform the raw ingredients into the final product.
     
  14. Data's Cat

    Data's Cat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    My thoughts exactly!
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Point of order:
    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.
     
  16. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    What? You mean Scotty and Nichols DIDN'T create the materials and machinery needed and then produce several large panels of transparent aluminum overnight?!

    Shocked! Shocked!

    ... That so many people get this part wrong. The explanation is right there when Nichols tells Scotty they carry in stock what Scotty needs! (This solidifying how "easy" the transaction would be.)
     
  17. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In an alternative timeline, they hid HMS Bounty underwater instead of cloaking it in the middle of San Francisco, and went into a multiple year sitcom living next door to Gillian waiting for the transparent aluminum tank.
     
  18. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The American Chemical Society officially adopted the spelling "aluminum" in 1925, and we Yanks have spelled it that way ever since.

    Link