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Alien Glass

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ihwip

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OK, I have read plenty about what molecules and such will work for life on other planets with conditions other than ours. My question here is what they would substitute for silicon in their glass and mirrors. I am not familiar with what wavelengths penetrate various materials. Can anyone shed any light on this?
 
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bdewoody

Guest
Are you inferring silicone based life here? Why would they substitute anything. Glass is glass everywhere.
 
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neilsox

Guest
Some oxides form a transparent solid, but most have problems as a glass substitute. Hydrogen oxide = water is ok in some applications below zero degrees c. Silicon is likely abundant most everywhere except gas giant planets and stars. Common glass is a mixture (perhaps a sort of compound) of silicon dioxide, calcium oxide and sodium oxide. Pure silicon dioxide makes an excellent glass = quartz glass. Neil
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Techically, glass can be made of hundreds of substances. The term really refers to ths structure of the molecules in the solid, not what they are made of.
 
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ihwip

Guest
Well...this is a good discussion so far but I will clarify. What I was meaning is...for instance Gliese 581g is in a system with a red dwarf for light. So obviously the creatures will probably evolve to utilize lower wavelengths of light. Would silicon glass work in that light or would they need a substitute?
 
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believer_since_1956

Guest
ihwip":3r4uqmsg said:
Well...this is a good discussion so far but I will clarify. What I was meaning is...for instance Gliese 581g is in a system with a red dwarf for light. So obviously the creatures will probably evolve to utilize lower wavelengths of light. Would silicon glass work in that light or would they need a substitute?

Silicon Glass will work you can see a red sunset through a window. Silicon glass has a wide bandwidth.
 
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bdewoody

Guest
Like I said glass is glass here on earth or on Gliese581G.
 
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CAllenDoudna

Guest
Are you assuming their visual range is in the infrared to which most glass is opaque and so is the basis of most solar heating systems?

Well obviously we have substances transparent to infrared as is evidenced by infrared photography and infrared night-vision goggles.

But if you want to know what is transparent other than glass, well there is a range of artificial carbon compounds commonly referred to as "plastic" and some of these are transparent.
 
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silylene

Guest
Interestingly, polysilicon itself is rather transparent over a wide swath of the infrared spectrum. You wouldn't necessarily even need silicon dioxide glass!

As MW said, there are hundreds of known glasses. A glass simply refers to a physical state of matter, where it is solid but lacks any long range crystalline order greater than about 50 nm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass
 
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