Imagine standing on a platform raised on a building over a hundred stories tall and looking down to see traffic running beneath you. Standing on glass might make you nervous, but thanks to the efforts of scientists working at Cal Tech, we could all be looking at a whole new world where glass is one of the strongest materials known to man. And if this incredibly tough material can be made transparent, there’s no end to what it could do for our world.
Incredibly strong windows able to take more of a beating than steel would mean floors and support structures could be strong enough to ensure the most overwhelming attacks while still letting people see through them. The material would most likely be used in vehicles designed to protect high profile public officials and certain aircraft at least, and possibly even find its way into maximum security defense installations as well. The only problem is, unlike more traditional glass and plastics used to make windows, this material uses very expensive bonding materials like palladium to hold the materials together.
By bonding palladium, silver, and other materials in with the process, these windows can be made to withstand things like bullets, bombs, sledgehammers, and even vehicular collisions. And that’s not all. Scientists are now more confident than ever that this is only the beginning when it comes to incredibly strong glass. The rest could come with a far less expensive material to develop it. As it stands today, both silver and palladium are already increasing in price with increased industrial demand. And as that demand increases and the world stock supplies dwindle, some experts are suggesting these precious metals will run into a brick wall when it becomes too expensive to make their use feasible due to scarcity.
But in the mean time, these materials could still be able to be used to develop windows on everything from spacecraft to glass panes for office buildings. Only don’t expect it to come cheap if you want this ultra bullet proof glass standing between you and your greatest fears. And whether that’s a terrorist bomber or a free fall from a hundred stories or even an oncoming mac truck, that will be up to what seems most useful to engineers and developers.
But how common will these windows become? At the moment it’s hard to tell. With how expensive the materials involved will be, there’s a real possibility that it won’t be seen everywhere. We won’t simply evolve past a world of broken glass. But the powerful protection afforded by this scientific material might be yet another material used in the space program when exploring the surface of the red planet.
And in a time where fear runs rampant in the world, there’s nothing more secure than being able to look out your window and knowing nothing can make its way in.