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May 3rd, 2009

Strong-glass innovation at Alfred University

Published on May 3rd, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org
AU president Charles M. Edmondson (left) along with Santanoi Glass co-owners William C. LaCourse and Patricia LaCourse

AU president Charles M. Edmondson (left) along with Santanoi Glass co-owners William and Patricia LaCourse.

Alfred University reports that one of their veteran researchers has come up with a new and practical process for strengthening glass and ceramics. The school claims the technology can allow a glass bottle to bounce even when dropped from 10 feet to a concrete floor. The process is the discovery of William LaCourse, a professor of Glass Science at the New York State College of Ceramics at AU. There aren’t a lot of details available, but LaCourse and the school have already moved on the technology-transfer aspects. Santanoni Glass and Ceramics Inc. will make and market “Ultra-HS” glass. LaCourse is the president of the company and AU will receive royalty payments based on a licensing agreement. Santanoni is located in the Ceramics Corridor Innovation Center at AU.

Santanoni isn’t wasting time – its glass products are already available, albeit in limited quantities. Higher production levels are in the works. Applications for the process include “unbreakable” wine glasses, canning jars, bottles, tumblers, goblets and mugs.

AU and LaCourse say the cost of the Ultra-HS products will be competitive with nonstrengthened glassware. “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 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.”

Research on the glass technology was partially funded by AU’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology, 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.”


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