Oxynitride of aluminium (or AlON) is a ceramic, composed of aluminum, oxygen and nitrogen. The material is optically transparent (> 80%) in the ultraviolet, visible, and half-wave ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Abroad is manufactured by Surmet Corporation under the brand name ALON. Recently Russian scientists have developed a technology for the production of transparent aluminum, which is somewhat different from foreign analogues.
Unique Design alloy opened up new prospects in the defense industry, science and construction. According to official data, ALON:
By the Way, the mineral spinel – a direct competitor of transparent aluminum and inferior to oxynitride on a number of parameters.
ALON is the hardest commercially available representative of polycrystalline transparent ceramics. The combination of optical and mechanical properties makes this material a leading candidate for high-performance lightweight armored products such as bulletproof and explosion proof glass, elements for infrared optical systems. Also from oxynitride aluminum get transparent, impact resistant Windows, Windows, plates, domes, rods, tubes and other products using traditional technologies of processing ceramic powders.
Oxynitride of aluminium has an outstanding performance:
When testing transparent aluminum obtained the following indicators:
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ALON is also resistant to radiation and damage to various acids, alkalis and water.
Transparent oxynitride of aluminium produced by powder sintering, like other ceramic materials. While the U.S. Navy are developing new bullet-proof material called an artificial spinel, Surmet Corporation, the company already produces its own version of “bulletproof” under the name ALON.
Developed in the laboratories of the Raytheon company special powder lay in shape and maintained at very high temperatures. The composition of the mixture can vary slightly: the content of aluminum is approximately from 30% to 36%, which slightly affects performance (the discrepancy is only 1-2%).
The Process of heating causes a rapid dilution and cooling of powder leaving the molecules are freely arranged as if they are still in liquid form. It is this crystalline structure provides a transparent aluminum level strength and durability to scratches, comparable to a sapphire.
Manufactured products are subjected to heat treatment (densification) at elevated temperatures, followed by grinding and polishing to transparency. The material can withstand temperatures up to 2100 °C in inert gases. Grinding and polishing substantially improves the impact resistance and other mechanical properties.
Russian scientists have created transparent aluminum in 2017. On assurance of experts from the national research nuclear University "MEPhI", production technology has been greatly improved. In the manufacture of compacts subjected to spark-plasma sintering.
Unlike their foreign counterparts, domestic developers are missing the discharge is not through the external heating element and directly over the mold. Scientists claim that the domestic transparent armor on the strength characteristics comparable to cubic Zirconia, but at the same time has high toughness.
The Traditional bullet-proof glass consists of several layers of polycarbonate sandwiched between two layers of glass. Similar to transparent aluminum armor is made of three layers:
However the similarity ends here. Aluminum armor can stop the same bullets from small-caliber weapons, as traditional bulletproof glass, but it will be still clear even after the shot with no typical cracks. In addition, the strength of ALON is much higher.
Armor from oxynitride of aluminium can be manufactured in almost any shape. She is not afraid of no sand, no gravel, no dust. Resistance to abrasive materials is very high. In spite of the excellent properties of transparent aluminum, this material has not received wide use. The biggest deterrent– the price (3-5 times more expensive than traditional bullet-proof glass). ALON is currently used mostly for lenses observation devices and sensors missiles.
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