Up, up and away in my…glass balloon?

Making a balloon out of glass might not seem like such a great idea on the surface – but Hank Rawlins, MetE’91, MS MetE’92, a graduate student in metallurgical engineering, thinks glass balloons might turn out to be the best way to put monitoring equipment in the upper atmosphere.


Rawlins took third place in the 2007 Strength in Glass Contest, a year-long challenge for university students interested in identifying marketable new products, engineering opportunities and cost savings that would be possible “if glass of any type were available at 50 times its current strength.”
Rawlins received $5,000 for his proposal of “Eversphere Glass Balloons.” The concept involves high strength, thin-walled vacuum glass balloons. The balloons would have a greater lifting force than helium or hydrogen balloons and would allow scientists to permanently place monitoring equipment in the upper atmosphere.
The competition was sponsored by the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC), the glass and optical materials division of the American Ceramic Society, the International Commission on Glass, the Center for Glass Research and the National Science Foundation’s International Materials Institute on New Functionalities in Glasses.
“The industry now has a clear look at some of the amazing products that will be possible when the barriers to stronger glass are overcome and the target strengths are achieved,” says Michael Greenman, executive director of GMIC. “The next step of this process will be the creation and announcement of an X-Prize in Glass.”
The X-Prize in Glass would be similar to the $10 million Ansari Prize, which was offered in 2005 to encourage privately funded space flight.

Around the Puck

“Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years”

In the 1870s, Rolla seemed an unlikely location for a new college. There were only about 1,400 residents in a community with more saloons than houses of worship. There were no paved streets, sewers or water mains. To visitors, there seemed to be as many dogs, hogs, horses, ducks and geese as humans walking the dusty streets.

[Read More...]

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2019

[Read More...]

Bringing clean water to South America

Assessing water quality, surveying mountaintop locations and building systems to catch rainwater — that’s how members of S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders spent their summer break.

[Read More...]

Geothermal goals exceeded

After five years of operation, Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system continues to outperform expectations. S&T facilities operations staff originally predicted the geothermal system would reduce campus water usage by over 10% — roughly 10 million gallons per year. The system, which went online in May 2014, cut actual water usage by 18 million to 20 […]

[Read More...]

What happens in Vegas…may appear in print

In his latest volume of Las Vegas lore, historian Larry Gragg says it was deliberate publicity strategies that changed the perception of Sin City from a regional tourist destination where one could legally gamble and access legalized prostitution just outside the city limits, to a family vacation spot filled with entertainment options and surrounded by […]

[Read More...]