Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have reportedly developed a way to make military standard glass “50 percent stronger than the hardest windows currently installed on military vehicles,” according to Fox News.
Military vehicles currently use a multi-tiered glass system with a bar in the middle, which takes away from the pliability. The alternative to the current glass is an expensive sapphire-based material.
However, according to Fox News, spinel, also known as magnesium aluminum oxide, is a cheaper version of the sapphire version. The material can be hardened through a heat and compression process known as “sintering.”
Now the NRL team has taken this approach to a higher level with a method it calls Enhanced High Pressure Sintering, which creates a spinel that is harder even than sapphire – and much less expensive.
The enhanced spinel is lighter and thinner, and windows made from it meet military specifications, meaning its use could reduce the weight of military vehicles.
The new spinel-based glass is still in the development phase and would require testing from the military before being deployed into the field.