Step aside Starphire, Sapphires are where it’s at! A recent article in Technology Review claims that in synthetic sapphire could be in the market to replace the glass cover of our smartphones, which got us to thinking, why not our aquariums? Synthetic sapphire is a form of aluminum oxide, still quite expensive, but its strength, scratch resistance and optical clarity has made it a good choice for a variety of everyday applications.
Bar code scanners are built with sapphire glass to stand up to wear as thousands of items pass and across it, but yet it doesn’t scratch allowing the bar code to be read reliably. Famously, Apple also used a sapphire lens for the camera of the iPhone 5, once again for optical clarity and scratch resistance. If manufactured sapphire is used in watch faces, photo lenses and a myriad of applications, then surely it could also be used to build an aquarium.
But how much would it cost? We have no idea, we don’t have the answer but Reef Builders readers are really smart and one of you has the answer. The Technology Review article claims that sapphire manufacturing could bring down the cost to $20 for the cover of something like a smartphone.
Additionally, instead of making the aquarium entirely out of sapphire it might be possible to create a sapphire laminate to place over glass and make super scratch resistant. If any of you know something about Sapphire panes of glass, let us know in the comments what you think it would cost to build an aquarium out of sapphire, like a 24″ cube size. Only time will tell if we ever see sapphire applications for scratch proof aquarium glass but with the reef aquarium hobby seemingly in very good health, there’s definitely opportunities for sapphire in the reef world.