Glass

  • Traditionally, welding has been limited to materials that share similar properties. But now, scientists are claiming a breakthrough method that can weld together materials as different as glass and metal, thanks to ultrafast laser pulses.
  • ​Although glass IS recyclable, the recycling process is generally limited to large pieces that can be easily sorted by color. Because it's not worth the effort to sort smaller fragments, they tend to simply be discarded. A new process, however, can convert them into a useful substance.
  • We've covered a lot of treehouses over the years but this one is pretty unusual. Designed by 02 Treehouse's Dustin Feider, the pine cone-shaped shelter hangs high up in the trees. Its snug glazed interior has enough room for a double bed and offers choice views of the forest.
  • Atelier Risting recently completed this nice example of a rural cabin on a farm owned by the same family for over 150 years. Partly constructed with reclaimed materials, it's raised on stilts, runs off-the-grid, and serves as an idyllic vacation retreat to get away from it all.
  • ​​A US$100 million makeover of Seattle’s Space Needle has been completed, with the observation tower receiving a number of modern upgrades. Among the new features are a cantilevered staircase and what has been dubbed the world’s first revolving glass floor. ​
  • With its unique history, location, and population of monkeys, the Rock of Gibraltar is already an interesting place to visit, but it recently received a new viewing point too. Installed near a former British WWII anti-aircraft platform, it provides amazing views of the area.
  • PNNL has vitrified low-level radioactive waste taken from a tank at the decommissioned Hanford Site nuclear production complex in Washington state for the first time in a continuous process. The waste was turned into durable glass that immobilizes the radioactive and chemical compounds inside.
  • Windows let light, warmth and a view into rooms, but we don’t always want all three of those at once. That’s why researchers in Switzerland are developing a relatively simple method to smarten up windows by embedding tiny mini-mirrors in them and keep rooms comfortable all year round.
  • Researchers have developed a new polymer film that’s transparent, looks and feels like glass, and conducts electricity. The material is easy to manufacture on a large scale, should be less expensive than the commonly-used, inorganic indium tin oxide, and is more conductive than other polymers.
  • The glass we’re most familiar with is made from silicon dioxide, but now, an international team of scientists have developed a brand new class of glass, made from metal-organic compounds. These new materials form glass more readily than other types, and are much more pliable.
  • Slovenia's OFIS Architects recently completed a prototype micro-house that runs off-the-grid in Granada, Spain, and serves as a retreat for one or two people for up to a week at a time. The dwelling, appropriately dubbed Glass House, sports an energy-efficient triple-glazed glass facade.
  • Curtains or blinds might eventually get the flick in favor of smart windows. Now a team of engineers has demonstrated a new design. Dubbed Large-Area Fluidic Windows (LaWin), the system uses iron particles suspended in liquid to block sunlight at different levels, and harvest its heat energy.