(Credit: Robert Ritchie)
Think Corning Gorilla Glass is the toughest around? Not for long. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have created a metallic glass that is not just tough, but also strong.
While most of us use toughness and strength interchangeably, they are actually mutually exclusive and, in most cases, inversely proportionate to each other. Building materials like bricks are strong in the sense that hitting it will not result in a change in shape. But once you apply enough force to create a shear line, it breaks. Rubber tyres, on the other hand, deform easily with relatively little energy, but are extremely tough as it takes much more force to rip the material to shreds.
The new glass is actually a micro-alloy made from palladium, which the researchers claim offers the best combination of strength and toughness while being lighter than steel.
At the moment the material is still much too expensive to use for everyday items, but we have renewed hope that, one day, Wonder Woman's invisible plane may actually become a reality.