Newswise — Wine glasses that don't shatter? Baby bottles that don't break? Coffee mugs that last generations?
All are possible with a new process for strengthening glass and ceramics developed by an Alfred University researcher.
Alfred University has signed a royalty agreement with Santanoni Glass and Ceramics, Inc., of Alfred Station, NY, for proprietary technology related to the strengthening of glass.
The process allows Santanoni to produce "unbreakable" glassware such as wine glasses, canning jars, bottles, tumblers, goblets and mugs at a cost that allows the products to be competitive with normal, un-strengthened glassware. Dr. William LacCourse, a professor of Glass Science at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and president of the company, located in the Ceramics Corridor Innovation Center in Alfred, has researched processes for strengthening glasses for more than 30 years.
"No glass is unbreakable, but our process produces the highest strength glassware available today, and at price that makes it affordable," said LaCourse. "It has the potential to save restaurants, catering services and families up to 80 percent, and perhaps more, on their glassware costs. We have dropped glass bottles from 10 feet high onto a concrete floor, and the glass simply bounces."
Under the agreement, Santanoni will have access to the technology developed by LaCourse and his graduate students. The glassware will be processed in Alfred Station, NY at the Sugar Hill Industrial Park, and will be marketed nationally. "We are working with a couple of distributors for some specialty products, but will do the majority of consumer marketing through gift shops and the Internet. We are also contacting various food service companies where we believe the products can save them thousands of dollars per year due to reduced breakage and lower inventory costs."
Alfred University President Charles Edmondson heralded the agreement with Santanoni Glass, calling it "significant for Alfred University and the Southern Tier. It is an indication of how our high-tech materials research can generate job creation and economic growth."
Over the years the research was partially funded by Alfred's Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT), as well as Santanoni. "The help of our CACT was critical in getting the company started. We could not have done it with out its constant support. I owe a lot to the CACT and especially to Alfred University for providing the laboratories, equipment and financial support," said LaCourse. "It is time to pay back."
Santanoni's Ultra-HS glass products are now available in limited quantities as the company prepares to ramp up production levels.