) is a fictional
substance from the Star Trek science fiction
franchise. It was first mentioned in the 1986 feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
, in which it was described as a material that could be used to construct a waterproof enclosure for transporting whales
aboard a starship
Attempts to make a similar material include the chemical bonding of aluminum with appropriate elements in transparent alumina and in ruby, corundum, sapphire, and related aluminum compounds. Traditional photonic bandgaps, based on introducing spatial holes in aluminum, are likewise possible, but these would require the introduction of numerous physical holes with roughly the diameter of the wavelengths of light for which transparency were desired; but such would presumably weaken aluminum structures.
is the brand name of a transparent ceramic compound with a high compressive strength and durability, used primarily in military applications.
, a chemical compound of aluminum and oxygen (Al2
) is made transparent through a process of fusing fine particles. Nanophase alumina is used as a durable coating.
Amorphous aluminum alloys
Aluminum alloys can be made into glasses (i.e., amorphous solids, not necessarily transparent) by cooling or deformation.
In the popular film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
, panels of acrylic glass
were acquired for construction of water tanks with a thickness suitable for containing two humpback whales
and tonnes of water. However, the Enterprise
crew, without money appropriate to the period, found it necessary to barter with Plexicorp (a fictional manufacturer) for the materials required for the task. In exchange for the acrylic glass, Chief Engineer Scott
shares the chemical formula
for transparent aluminum.
Star Trek technical Manuals indicates transparent aluminum is used in various fittings in starships, including exterior ship portals and windows. In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “In Theory,” a subspace anomaly alters the transparent aluminum windows creating a hull breach in the observation lounge.
An earlier reference to this fictional material was made on an episode of Battlestar Galactica (original 1978 series), the episode was "The Hand of God", aired April 29th, 1979. The reference was to the construction of the last of the ancient battlestar's astro-navigational domes, Apollo points out to Sheba that the dome was made from transparent aluminum.