As glass curtain wall and floor-to-ceiling windows increasingly become staples in today’s built environment, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory developed a stronger alternative to this popular material, TreeHugger reports.
Called Spinel, a press release from the NRL says it is "actually a mineral, it's magnesium aluminate. The advantage is it's so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments—so it can withstand sand and rain erosion."
Dr. Jas Sanghera of NRL describes how it is created: "You put the powder in [a hot press], you press it under vacuum, squash this powder together—and if you can do that right, then you can get rid of all the entrapped air, and all of a sudden it comes out of there clear-looking."
According to Glass Canada, architectural uses for the material include glass balconies and glass that is truly fire-resistant.