Nav: Home

Researchers identify process for improving durability of glass

March 10, 2015

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris have identified a method for manufacturing longer-lasting and stronger forms of glass. The research could lead to more durable display screens, fiber optic cables, windows and other materials, including cement.

Glasses are liquids that are cooled in the manufacturing process to reach a stable "frozen liquid" state. However, as glass ages and is exposed to temperature variations, it continues to flow or "relax," causing it to change shape.

This means that over time, windows and digital screens can deform, eventually becoming unusable. In the case of cement, which has a molecular structure similar to that of glass, relaxation eventually leads to cracking and, in bridges and tall buildings, a loss of structural integrity.

Mathieu Bauchy, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA, and Matthieu Micoulaut, a professor of materials science at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, have identified optimal conditions for developing more durable glass and cement.

By performing computer simulations to test the molecular dynamics of materials commonly used to make glass, the researchers identified a range of pressures that are best for achieving "thermal reversibility," in which a material will retain the same properties it had when it was produced, even if it has been exposed over time to variations in temperature.

The research was published March 9 in Nature Communications.

"The key finding is that if you use specific conditions to form glass -- the right pressure and the right composition of the material -- you can design reversible glasses that show little or no aging over time," Bauchy said.

Bauchy said the molecular structure of glass is analogous to the metal framework of the Eiffel Tower. Strength and rigidity are partially a result of the angles at which beams and crossbeams connect. The researchers' new process improves the angles at which molecular bonds occur, making the material stronger.

The research could also have a significant impact in slowing the production of greenhouse gases. The manufacture of cement and concrete results in approximately 5 percent of all greenhouse gas production, according to the American Ceramic Society.

"The smaller the quantity of material we use to rebuild deteriorating structures, the better it is for the environment," said Bauchy, whose research focuses on forging stronger ties between fundamental physics and engineering to design better, more sustainable materials.
-end-
Bauchy was the lead author of the research; Micoulaut was the principal investigator.

The research was supported by the Franco-American Fulbright Commission and the International Materials Institute.

University of California - Los Angeles

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...