Glass has been around since 3500 BC, and since then, it has been one of the many everyday materials of choice. We pretty much see them everywhere nowadays--our windows, our windshields, our mirrors, our fancy wine bottles.
But now, it seems, glass is going to suffer some stiff competition from something that, until quite recently, exists only in science fiction: transparent aluminum.
But before finding out just how stiff the competition is going to be, let's look up the basic pros and cons of glass, in no particular order:
- Glass lets light through, so that our houses don't look like caves on the inside.
- Glass also focuses light, which makes for deadly heat-based weaponry.
- Glass is transparent, so that we can see how we look.
- Glass breaks easily, so unless you have a floor full of good, thick carpeting, you'd best find yourself another mirror.
- Glass can't react well to pressure, which is why deep-sea submariners like Alvin have only very small windows.
So let us assume that in this alternate scenario, glass fell out of favor during the Industrial Revolution after an anonymous inventor accidentally discovered "transparent aluminum" (the name itself being a 20th-century last-minute addition). Would TA improve from the list above, or should we just stick with good ol' glass?