REFLEX Analytical introduces a chemical strengthening process for glass substrates into their optical
fabrication capability. The treatment is accomplished through a chemical ion-exchange on the surface of
a substrate. Na+ -K+ exchange introduces compressive stresses at the surface and these stresses
act as an effective toughening mechanism, thereby increasing the strength and decreasing the susceptibility
to damage initiation. This enables the glass to be used to higher levels of tensile stress, with strengths comparable
to aluminum alloys.
Notably at this time, the flexural strength of chemically treated glass can reach as high as 100,000 psi (100 Ksi)
which is near equivalent to the optical and mechanical properties of the highly durable, yet more expensive Sapphire optical material which is second only to Diamond in terms of hardness and is impervious to water, most acids, alkalis and harsh chemicals. A patent pending process has been developed to increase the flexural strength
to 150,000 psi (150 Ksi) which will far exceed Sapphire's rating of 108,000 psi (108 Ksi). Chemically strengthened
glass demonstrates outstanding mechanical, chemical and optical properties which represents a major advance in
glass science technology.
The chemically treated glass boasts a transparency range from the UV through the visible and into the infrared.
This permits weapons systems designers to operate guidance devices whether they are CCD, radio frequency,
infrared or laser based. The material's proponents stress that chemically treated glass is not just for use in military applications. It can be used in numerous applications that demand toughness and optical clarity. The material is also useful for viewports, protective covers, and front surface optics in hostile environments whose elements may include high temperature, high pressure and vacuum conditions. Less demanding applications include point of sale scanner windows used in grocery store and retail scanners.
Custom components are encouraged and available upon request; mechanical drawings with specifications and tolerances are prerequisite.