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Warning!
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Picard, and thus may contain spoilers.


The formula for transparent aluminum

Transparent aluminum was a construction material far stronger and much lighter than its predecessor, plexiglass.

A one-inch thick sheet of transparent aluminum, measuring sixty feet by ten feet, was capable of withstanding the pressure of 18,000 cubic feet of water, which could be used in place of a six-inch thick sheet of plexiglass.

Dr. Nichols, of the San Francisco-based Plexicorp, acquired the formula for transparent aluminum in 1986 from a mysterious engineer from Edinburgh, known as "Professor Scott." In exchange for the formula, Dr. Nichols provided enough Plexiglas to "Professor Scott" to construct a giant whale-tank in the cargo hold of the stolen HMS Bounty. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

According to an early draft of Star Trek IV, transparent aluminum was invented in the mid-2130s. The novel Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (likely based on a later draft) indicates that Dr. Nichols is the credited inventor of the formula – Scott concludes that his being in San Francisco and needing transparent aluminum when this "breakthrough" occurs is a predestination paradox.
The diagram Scott prepared seems to suggest it is made of hydrogen, silver, and aluminum.

Why transparent aluminum could be an industry game-changer

In 2024, the January 21 issue of the Los Angeles Times included an article in the business section titled "Why transparent aluminum could be an industry game-changer." (PIC: "Watcher")

The viewports of the USS Enterprise-D were made of transparent aluminum. In 2367 when an anomaly caused atmospheric decompression in the observation lounge, Data scanned the transparent aluminum in the windows, and found a pattern of transient electrical currents characteristic of subspace distortion. (TNG: "In Theory")

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