The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Can transparent metal be made?  (Read 32678 times)

Offline daveshorts

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
  • Physics, Experiments
    • View Profile
    • http://www.chaosscience.org.uk
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #25 on: 04/05/2005 10:07:54 »
Yes you can see through very thin gold films becuase they are so thin. Interestingly when you look through a gold film it looks blue. This is because gold is yellow because it reflects red and green light better than blue, this means that if you look through the film what is left is blue light.
 

Offline Varient

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #26 on: 10/05/2005 19:11:03 »
quote:
Originally posted by DrPhil

It's a well known fact that Scotty gave the formula for transparent aluminum to Plexicorp way back in the 20th century. However, there's a huge glass manufacturer/government conspiracy in effect to prevent its development and use.



?????
Scientific American came out with an article of a process that could change the properties of a metal so it could be thick and translucent to transparent,.... about ten years ago.


"I save my sanity by giving it to others."
-Varient-
 

Offline Varient

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #27 on: 10/05/2005 20:18:14 »
quote:
Originally posted by DrPhil

It's a well known fact that Scotty gave the formula for transparent aluminum to Plexicorp way back in the 20th century. However, there's a huge glass manufacturer/government conspiracy in effect to prevent its development and use.

August 23, 2004
transparent aluminum
newbielink:http://beverlytang.com/archives/materials/transparent_aluminum.html [nonactive]

"I save my sanity by giving it to others."
-Varient-
 

Offline daveshorts

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
  • Physics, Experiments
    • View Profile
    • http://www.chaosscience.org.uk
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #28 on: 10/05/2005 20:23:49 »
Aaah that is not technically a metal, Aluminium oxide is a ceramic, and in fact what sapphire is made of. Cool though if they can make it cheaply - increadably good thermal conductivity at low temperatures because it is very stiff, so if you thermally wobble one end the whole thing wobbles.
 

Offline chimera

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 475
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #29 on: 10/05/2005 20:37:41 »
quote:
Originally posted by daveshorts

 so if you thermally wobble one end the whole thing wobbles.



Got that first part, but here your subtitles went on the blink. Please illuminate us silly cloggies and other woodbrains... [:I]

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
 

Offline daveshorts

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
  • Physics, Experiments
    • View Profile
    • http://www.chaosscience.org.uk
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #30 on: 10/05/2005 20:57:11 »
Sorry

On a small scale heat is random movements, vibrations and rotations of the atoms and molecules of a substance.

In a gas the heat is transferred simply by the hot atoms(/molecules) actually moving about both by convection (where all the gas moves as hot gas is lighter) and by diffusion (where the hot atoms bounce around individually).

 In a solid the atoms can't move around so other ways of moving heat around dominate.

In metals the electrons are free to move around like the atoms in a gas, so they can transfer the heat around by diffusion

In a solid all the atoms will interact with one another like they are on springs, think of it like a slinkey spring with atoms attached to it. If you wobble one end a wave will move down the atoms and the other end will wobble. If the frequencies are low and everything is moving together we call this sound propagation. If the frequencies are much much higher and the movements are really random it is heat.

In an electrical insulator this is the main way heat is transported.

 If the material is not very stiff and very imperfect the vibrations move slowly and get reflected all over the place so heat doesn't travel very fast, however if you get a ver stiff crystal like sapphire or diamond the speed of sound is about 10km/s and in a good crystal especially at low temperatures (so there are no thermal imperfections) you can get thermal conductivities as good as if not better than copper.

This is why they want to make chip substrates out of diamond, as it is electrically insulating and a very good heat conductor.
 

Offline chimera

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 475
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #31 on: 11/05/2005 07:35:05 »
Wow, subtitles worked overtime on that, but that's clear allright. Could you explain how it's possible that something can be both very rigid, crystals and lattice-like, and yet not be brittle, so the slightest vibration would damage it? Like high towers that have to give a bit in the wind, or snap? How's that work in a lattice without any lee-way, if you get my meaning?

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
 

Offline daveshorts

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
  • Physics, Experiments
    • View Profile
    • http://www.chaosscience.org.uk
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #32 on: 11/05/2005 08:53:19 »
Diamond and sapphire are probably fairly brittle, eg if you dropped them on a (very hard - as otherwise the surface will dent) surface they would crack rather than bend.

 However this doesn't stop them from being very very strong as if two stiff objects hit each other hard the accelerations are huge, hence the forces are enormous. So something that is very strong and will survive vibrations can still be brittle.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #33 on: 15/05/2005 22:23:13 »
Just harping back to the question of the name, did Davy pronounce it aloomium or alyoomium? I ask this because Americans pronounce their version aloominum whereas we brits say alyoominium. And, yes, we use METRE, LITRE etc. In England a meter is a device for measuring or taking your money when you wish to park your car (automobile to our transatlantic friends
It is also worth noting that American spellings are much closer to how the English spelled words in Shakespearian times although they would have been pronounced with a nice rural brogue rather than a harsh, nasal whine.
 

Offline raid517

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #34 on: 21/05/2005 13:03:49 »
Hey, interesting topic. I remember thinking about this as a kid. Just out of curiosity, what are the electrically conductive qualities of something like leaded glass? Is it possible to significany improve the electrically conductive qualities of glass by say for example adding other kinds of metal oxides? How efficient can this be made - while still allowing the glass to remain transparrent?

GJ
 

Offline abigail07

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Transparent metal ?
« Reply #35 on: 19/01/2010 05:32:03 »
Don't you think it is impossible to create transparent metal? I thought it was only on Star Trek that it is possible, I remember there was this scene about transparent metal. So, I did little research and found out that a perfect white metal at atmospheric pressure, on increasing pressure sodium first turns black, then red transparent, and eventually becomes a colorless transparent material.
« Last Edit: 16/07/2013 09:12:13 by CliffordK »
 

Offline Grimbo

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Transparent metal ?
« Reply #36 on: 22/01/2010 15:47:37 »
check out this link
transparant ali and other cool stuff
newbielink:http://gajitz.com/meta/science/new-materials/ [nonactive]
 

Offline MonoLithient

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #37 on: 01/09/2012 21:53:05 »
Maybe, a type of coating that refracts light in just the right way could be applied to make the metal appear invisible. This probably wouldn't work for a really complex shape though, but if you had a metal sheet or cylinder, sphere, etc., you might be able to refract light around it to make it appear invisible. This might actually better belong in a thread talking about light and refraction, but hey, this might for the bill for "invisible" or transparent metal.
 

Offline damocles

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 756
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #38 on: 02/09/2012 00:39:24 »
No bulk electrical conductor can be transparent. A transparent surface conductor has been achieved with a very thin film of gold on glass.

I remember doing the theory in Physics 2, though I forget the detail. When light -- an electromagnetic wave -- meets a material that is a bulk electric conductor, the electric vector decays exponentially with depth in the conductor. This mandates that when light impinges on a metal surface, the metal is both opaque and reflective; the "boundary condition" for the wave equation for a vacuum/gas/transparent dielectric to conductor interface clearly shows that this must be the case. A layer of gold a few atoms thick (will attenuate light but not extinguish it) is apparently an important feature of aircraft windows.

On the other matter that has come up in this thread, the naming of elements, there are three elements that have slightly different names in North American/British English. On crossing the Atlantic, sulphur, aluminium, and caesium become sulfur, aluminum, and cesium.

Sometime around 1970, IUPAC debated the names of the elements. At that stage this organisation was very prescriptive. After a rather acrimonious session, the decision was made that the names should be sulfur, aluminium, and caesium (not sure about this last one). Basically the Brits would not wear sulfur and the Yanks would not wear aluminium. Eventually IUPAC backed off, and adopted a much less prescriptive policy, allowing for regional differences.

CRC Handbook is an American publication, and significantly biassed in its view of such questions: it is interesting that the original IUPAC committee decided that aluminium was the name that should be adopted.

Here in Oz (which should be the world standard) we are pretty much all decided on aluminium, and about 50/50 split between sulphur/sulfur and caesium/cesium.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #39 on: 02/09/2012 02:29:31 »
Isn't gold leaf transparent?  Probably because it's beaten so very thin.

Good point that the Apollo Astronauts had gold plating on the visors of their helmets to reduce UV radiation.

Pure silicon (a metalloid), while it has limited light transmission in the visible spectrum, it is relatively transparent in the IR spectrum.
 

Offline MonoLithient

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #40 on: 02/09/2012 04:20:10 »
Here, I think I've found what we've been looking for, a transparent aluminum:
newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_oxynitride [nonactive]

Quoting that article: "Aluminium oxynitride or AlON is a transparent polycrystalline ceramic with cubic spinel crystal structure composed of aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen. It is currently marketed under the name ALON by Surmet Corporation.[3] ALON is optically transparent (≥80%) in the near ultra violet, visible and near infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is 4 times harder than fused silica glass, 85% as hard as sapphire and nearly 15% harder than magnesium aluminate spinel. The material is stable up to 1,200 C (2,190 F).[1] It can be fabricated to transparent windows, plates, domes, rods, tubes and other forms using conventional ceramic powder processing techniques. Because of its relatively light weight, optical and mechanical properties, and its resistance to damage due to oxidation or radiation, it shows promise for use as infrared, high temperature and ballistic and blast resistant windows. Manufacturing methods continue to be refined. At US$10$15 per square inch the cost is currently (2005) higher than that of other ballistic resistant window materials."
 

Offline MonoLithient

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #41 on: 02/09/2012 04:31:28 »
But I think someone before said that this isn't technically a metal, but a ceramic, so I guess it's not exactly the holy grail answer here.
 

Offline damocles

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 756
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #42 on: 02/09/2012 05:55:06 »
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by gsmollin</i>

Well, even though the metal was found in "alum" and there was that "ium" ending for all those metals, they didn't name it "alumium" for some reason either. Its good that the Americans had the sense to choose a name that wasn't a jawbreaker.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

It was Sir Humphry Davy, an Englishman, who named the element "aluminum". The "ium" ending was adopted later.

Well Sir Humphry Davy is hardly an authority on how to spell -- his family did not even know how to spell "Humphrey" ;D

Seriously, though, there was no standardised English spelling until the mid 19th century, decades after aluminium had been named. And the pronunciation is not a mouthful on either side of the Atlantic:

"alla-MINNIE-um" or "al-you-MINNIE-um" versus "a-LOO-min-um" or "al-YOU-min-um".

I am thinking that many of you might not have realised that there were two quite distinct pronunciations on either side of the Atlantic, making four in total, and that none of them are particularly tongue-twisterish.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8676
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #43 on: 02/09/2012 13:10:51 »
Isn't gold leaf transparent?  Probably because it's beaten so very thin.
Yes, it is. Thin enough layers of metals are reasonably transparent.
 

Offline ladybug2535

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #44 on: 20/03/2015 08:50:59 »
Sure this is an old thread but science lives forever!  No such thing as a stupid question and guess what--they've done it!  They've created transparent metal!  Albeit for just a few seconds, but--hey, TRANSPARENT METAL!!!!  Here's the link to an article explaining what they did and how they did it.  Better yet, it legitimizes the claim by providing information about the original article published in a peer-reviewed journal:  newbielink:http://phys.org/news167925273.html [nonactive]
 

Offline chiralSPO

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1879
  • Thanked: 145 times
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #45 on: 20/03/2015 15:30:34 »
Taking a metal and subjecting it to extreme pressure or radiation has been shown to make the material transparent (as has been pointed out in this thread). But I think it is no longer actually metallic in that phase.

Metals are defined by their special electronic structure--orbitals (or bands) that extend throughout the entire material, allowing electrons (or holes) to move freely throughout, thus conducting electricity. Most common metals have electrons free to move in all 3 dimension "3D metals," but there are also materials that are only metallic in 2 dimensions (graphite) or one direction (sulfur nitride; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polythiazyl; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/%28SICI%291521-4095%28199812%2910:17%3C1415::AID-ADMA1415%3E3.0.CO;2-L/abstract).

A phase transition can disrupt the electronic structure. For instance graphite (2D metal) can turn to diamond, which is an excellent insulator. Tin exists in two major allotropes (phases) white tin (β tin) is a metal, with all of the charateristics one expects from a metal (conductive, reflective, malleable...), but grey tin (α tin) is a non-metal (poor conductor, not lustrous, brittle) which is structurally quite similar to diamond. Also hydrogen, which is typically not metallic can supposedly form a metallic phase under extreme pressures (we haven't been able to demonstrate it on Earth, but it is proposed that metallic hydrogen exists in Jupiter's core, and I think this is still considered the best explanation of the origin of Jupiter's magnetic field).

Why do I mention all of this? Compressing sodium or irradiating aluminum until they are transparent is just changing them to phases that are no longer metallic.

I'm pretty certain that it would be impossible for a metal to be transparent because a metal's ability to conduct so well allows it to absorb light extremely strongly. Really thin gold is transparent only because there is so little gold for the light to interact with.

 

Offline David Cooper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1505
    • View Profile
Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #46 on: 20/03/2015 18:08:24 »
Are any metals transparent to infra-red or ultra-viole(n)t light?

[On the side issue, I heard recently that alumium was the original word, so I've been using that for fun ever since.]
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Transparent metal ?
« Reply #46 on: 20/03/2015 18:08:24 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums