I'm currently bouncing around ideas for a sci-fi / cyberpunk world and one of the major technologies in this universe is the manufacture and usage of metallic glass.
I don't want to handwave too much away, since one of the scenes I have in mind involves a gunfight inside a factory where such glasses are made, and I was thinking of having the main characters and the antagonist's goons fighting it out using sheets of these glasses for cover as they're being moved by overhead automated cranes.
I'm unsure of how to proceed with this line, as I've found a great deal of academic papers, but I can't really wrap my head around the exact properties they have. What do I need to look out for when writing about these metallic glasses both at ambient and elevated temperatures?
Just some quick clarification: I'm looking for Bulk Metallic Glasses (BMG's), or amorphous metallic solids, not looking to make transparent steel since that just seems silly to me, except maybe as a trade name for a particular brand of viewport glass.
The particular properties I'm looking for are:
- toughness (resistance to abrasion and cutting, since I do know that toughness has a different scientific meaning.)
- ultimate tensile strength (resistance to being pierced)
- collision properties (I know it is very bouncy, as another user pointed out, but would that, say, shatter a bullet shot at it?) - malleability (can it be beaten into shape at low temperatures, or only when heated to above it's glass transition?)[speaking of which what does the term glass transition even describe?]
- and finally I was wondering if the use of metal vapors being deposited onto a 'seed' piece under an inert atmosphere would work to create the amorphous state, or if I would need to use a scaled-up version of current techniques to create the hard sci-fi I'm looking for.
Another thing to assuage the people asking why it's automated and using cranes, in order to maximize production space, the owners of the factory optimized everything so that no space is unused, meaning that the only (relatively) safe place for a human being to be on the factory floor is either in the gantry ways created for maintenance crew to move around and make sure that nothing broke and wasn't picked up by automated detection, or on top of certain pieces of running machinery. The rest of the work is done by autonomous drones which, aside from being cheap and almost disposable, can also handle the dangerous environmental conditions of the factory without the need for extremely expensive and not-infallible protective equipment.