ALON® or Aluminum Oxynitride or Transparent Aluminum is an advanced ceramic. Despite being transparent, it is extremely hard and durable. One of the most popular references of this advanced material was in the Star Trek series, where it is called as Transparent Aluminum. The current usage of ALON is mainly in the defense sector, for applications like armouring of helicopters, aircrafts, and ground vehicles. ALON also offers better performance than bullet-proof glass in windows and facades of high-security buildings.
Surmet Corporation (www.surmet.com) in USA is the only company in the world that makes ALON. Surmet Corporation makes a transparent sheet using ALON that can be used in window application. The transparent sheet is a laminate consisting of ALON bonded to poly-carbonate and/or glass layers using an adhesive film. This composite material has superior properties to bullet-proof glass. After many years of development and supplies to the defense sector, Surmet Corporation is now able to supply ALON in larger volumes and sizes. This supply, if accompanied by a drop in price, could make it a viable alternative to bullet-proof glass.
It will be interesting to see in the coming years if Surmet Corporation is able to increase supplies of ALON and offer it at an acceptable price for applications in the construction sector.