Bulletproof/resistant glass is so last century. To the delight of dailymail.co.uk and Trekkies everywhere, Surmet Corporation is now manufacturing transparent aluminum. OK, technically it’s a ceramic made from aluminum oxynitride (AlON). But it’s probably as close as we’ll get to Mr. Scott’s magic metal. Surmet molds the material under high pressure (15,000 psi), fuses it under high heat (2,000° for two days) and then polishes it until it’s optically clear. The result’s currently used for high-stress applications: lenses in battlefield cameras, the windows over the sensors in missiles and, oh yeah, armored windows . . .
The material is four times harder than fused silica glass, almost as hard as sapphire. Whereas a .50 caliber projectile can penetrate over three inches of laminated “bulletproof” glass, just 1.6 inches of AlON stops the lead dead. For all you gangsta rappers and mob lawyers looking to AlON your Maybachs, Mercedes, and Land Rovers, the line forms at Surmet’s offices in Massachusetts.