50 yrs. of Star Trek!

Doug Ingraham dpi at dustyoldcomputers.com
Fri Sep 9 15:23:59 CDT 2016

On Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 12:39 PM, Peter Cetinski <pete at pski.net> wrote:

> > On Sep 9, 2016, at 10:55 AM, Doug Ingraham <dpi at dustyoldcomputers.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > Transparent aluminum exists.  It is called sapphire.  Sapphire is the
> > crystalline form of aluminum oxide.  If you recall, Apple was thinking of
> > using it for the touch screen face of the iphone.
> >
> Ah yes, but can you make in sheets 60 feet by 10 feet by 1 inch thick and
> withstand the pressure of 18,000 cu ft of water?  :)

The answer is probably yes, but not for anything like a reasonable amount
of money or in a reasonable amount of time.  It would probably take a
couple of years to grow a crystal that size.  There was a company making
the ovens used to make billets of sapphire about 18 inches in diameter and
a foot tall from which they would cut out the pieces they would need with
presumably a diamond saw.  These billets would take something like a month
to grow so you would need a lot of them to make your screens in the multi
million quantities.  And these billets had imperfections you had to work
around.  In 1986 it would probably have taken Mr Scotts technical know how.

Doug Ingraham
PDP-8 SN 1175

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