aluminum oxide

aluminum oxide

aluminum oxide: see alumina.
Transparent aluminum (or aluminium) 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.


ALON is the brand name of a transparent ceramic compound with a high compressive strength and durability, used primarily in military applications.

Transparent alumina

Aluminum oxide, a chemical compound of aluminum and oxygen (Al2O3) 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 fiction

Star Trek

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.

Battlestar Galactica

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.

See also


External links

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