Re: Star Trek IV Was A Documentary!
- "Transparent aluminum???"
Actually, even at the time it didn't seem too far fetched to me
considering that there are crystal glasses made with lead. I believe
anything can be crystallyzed somehow and become transparent. It is a
matter of aligning them just right to allow photons through.
But this is soooo cool!
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Patrick Power
> Air Force testing new transparent armor
> by Laura Lundin
> Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs
> 10/17/2005 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio
> (AFPN) -- Engineers here are testing a new kind of
> transparent armor -- stronger and lighter than
> traditional materials -- that could stop
> armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle
> The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and
> manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum
> oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the
> traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now
> used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.
> The test is being done in conjunction with the Army
> Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.,
> and University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio.
> ALONtm is a ceramic compound with a high compressive
> strength and durability. When polished, it is the
> premier transparent armor for use in armored vehicles,
> said. 1st Lt. Joseph La Monica, transparent armor
> sub-direction lead
> "The substance itself is light years ahead of glass,"
> he said, adding that it offers "higher performance and
> lighter weight."
> Traditional transparent armor is thick layers of
> bonded glass. The new armor combines the transparent
> ALONtm piece as a strike plate, a middle section of
> glass and a polymer backing. Each layer is visibly
> thinner than the traditional layers.
> ALONtm is virtually scratch resistant, offers
> substantial impact resistance, and provides better
> durability and protection against armor piercing
> threats, at roughly half the weight and half the
> thickness of traditional glass transparent armor, said
> the lieutenant.
> In a June 2004demonstration, an ALONtm test pieces
> held up to both a .30 caliber Russian M-44 sniper
> rifle and a .50 caliber Browning Sniper Rifle with
> armor piercing bullets. While the bullets pierced the
> glass samples, the armor withstood the impact with no
> In extensive testing, ALONtm has performed well
> against multiple hits of .30 caliber armor piercing
> rounds -- typical of anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant La
> Monica said. Tests focusing on multiple hits from .50
> caliber rounds and improvised explosive devices are in
> the works.
> The lieutenant is optimistic about the results because
> the physical properties and design of the material are
> intended to stop higher level threats.
> "The higher the threat, the more savings you're going
> to get," he said. "With glass, to get the protection
> against higher threats, you have to keep building
> layers upon layers. But with ALONtm, the material only
> needs to be increased a few millimeters."
> This ability to add the needed protection with only a
> small amount of material is very advantageous, said
> Ron Hoffman, an investigator at University of Dayton
> Research Institute.
> "When looking at higher level threats, you want the
> protection, not the weight," Mr. Hoffman said.
> "Achieving protection at lighter weights will allow
> the armor to be more easily integrated into vehicles."
> Mr. Hoffman also pointed out the benefit of durability
> with ALONtm.
> "Eventually, with a conventional glass surface,
> degradation takes place and results in a loss of
> transparency," Mr. Hoffman said. "Things such as sand
> have little or no impact on ALONtm, and it probably
> has a life expectancy many times that of glass."
> The scratch-resistant quality will greatly increase
> the transparency of the armor, giving military members
> more visual awareness on the battlefield.
> "It all comes down to survivability and being able to
> see what's out there and to make decisions while
> having the added protection," Mr. Hoffman said.
> The Army is looking to use the new armor as windows in
> ground vehicles, like the Humvee, Lieutenant La Monica
> said. The Air Force is exploring its use for
> "in-flight protective transparencies for low,
> slow-flying aircraft. These include the C-130
> Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II
> and helicopters.
> While some see the possibilities of this material as
> limitless, manufacturability, size and cost are issues
> the lab is dealing with before the armor can
> transition to the field, the lieutenant said.
> "Traditional transparent armor costs a little over $3
> per square inch. The ALONtm Transparent Armor cost is
> $10 to $15 per square inch," Lieutenant La Monica
> said. "The difficulties arise with heating and
> polishing processes, which lead to higher costs. But
> we are looking at more cost effective alternatives."
> Lieutenant La Monica said experimenting with the
> polishing process has proven beneficial.
> "We found that by polishing it a certain way, we
> increased the strength of the material by two-fold,"
> he said.
> Currently, size is also limited because equipment
> needed to heat larger pieces is expensive. To help
> lower costs, the lieutenant said researchers are
> looking at design variations that use smaller pieces
> of the armor tiled together to form larger windows.
> Lowering cost by using a commercial grade material is
> also an option, and the results have been promising.
> "So far, the difference between the lower-grade
> material and higher purity in ballistic tests is
> minimal," he said.
> Lieutenant La Monica said once the material can be
> manufactured in large quantities to meet the
> military's needs, and the cost brought down, the
> durability and strength of ALONtm will prove
> beneficial to the warfighter.
> "It might cost more in the beginning, but it is going
> to cost less in the long run because you are going to
> have to replace it less," he said.
> (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)
> Originally found on the Area 504 Yahoo Group
> Patrick Power
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