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Glassteel
#1
This glass is almost as strong as steel.

http://gizmodo.com/japanese-researchers-make-glass-thats-nearly-unbreakabl-1739673940
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#2
Awesome.  Hello, space windows!  Good for containing air and for protection against impacts!

And this story is interesting on a second level, too.  This stuff can't touch anything while it's being fabricated, or it crystalizes and is ruined.  So the researchers developed a technique for holding it up (in small amounts) with air currents while it's being mixed and cooled.

So OK, that's a neat work-around if you happen to be stuck at the bottom of a deep gravity well.  But just think: in microgravity you could manufacture this stuff in huge batches!

And there's even a third level of interest for me, based on irony... for years we've been hearing that the "killer app" for microgravity manufacturing was the growth of large crystals.  Wouldn't it be funny if the killer app turned out to be the avoidance of large crystals, in this material or something like it?

Joe Strout
Lead Developer, High Frontier

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