What kind of glass is used in spaceships?

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Brionna Barton asked a question: What kind of glass is used in spaceships?
Asked By: Brionna Barton
Date created: Wed, Mar 3, 2021 11:29 AM
Date updated: Sun, Jun 26, 2022 1:58 AM

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So windows must still be able to withstand high temperatures, say about 1000 C. So Shuttle windows are made from a high-temperature quartz glass that can withstand heating and cooling without cracking.

  • Also intriguing to space researchers is fluoride glass. A blend of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, sodium and aluminum, this type of glass (also known as "ZBLAN") is a hundred times more transparent than silica-based glass. It would be exceptional for fiber optics.

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So Shuttle windows are made from a high-temperature quartz glass that can withstand heating and cooling without cracking. The same explanation applies to the Russian Soyuz and to NASA's new spacecraft called Orion that is under development.

Bulk metallic glass tiles also are being used aboard NASA's Genesis spacecraft to collect material from the solar wind -- the stream of charged particles ejected from the Sun. Genesis is scheduled to return to Earth in September 2004 with samples of the first solar wind particles locked inside coffee-lid sized detectors including one made of bulk metallic glass.

The inner glass pane made of tempered alumino-silicate glass is called pressure glass. It is designed to resist as much as possible the pressure of the shuttle cabin in the vacuum of space. FRITTED HEATING PLATE The finely powdered glass, called frit, is used to enamel the tiles that secure the space shuttle from combustion during its flight.

Also intriguing to space researchers is fluoride glass. A blend of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, sodium and aluminum, this type of glass (also known as "ZBLAN") is a hundred times more transparent than silica-based glass. It would be exceptional for fiber optics.

The main difference between HRSI and LRSI is the surface coatings used on them. On the HRSI tiles, a black borosilicate glass coating was used to protect areas of the shuttle which reached up to 1,260°C.

A: Space ships need to be solid for safety, but they also need to be light so that they have a better chance of escaping earth's graitational pull with less fuel or propellant, which is heavy and expensive on its own. This is why Aluminum and aluminum composite materials are used on spacecraft.

Glass-ceramics also play well with electrically conductive coatings, and engineers use that feature on spacecraft windows to keep them free of condensation and ice.

Sufficiently thick glass will be safe enough. IIRC (from a tourist trip), a glass sheet that's 12cm thick is as strong as concrete. It is also quite heavy, but metal would be similarly heavy in either case. Debris impacting the glass is an issue, but not more so than debris impacting the hull.

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