Subscribe to Make Magazine Today!
kriven_acers_2004_mug_drop_mugs.jpg

Think cement is just cement? Not so. These unlovely mugs are nonetheless very special. Prepared from special synthetic aluminosilicate materials called “geopolymers” (Wikipedia) by members of Dr. Waltraud M. Kriven’s research group at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, these mugs were tested in a special “mug drop” event at the 2004 American Ceramic Society (ACeRS) conference, and supposedly “were impossible to break at even 50ft onto bare concrete” (although the photos clearly show an astroturf-covered floor). Danger Room’s David Hambling recently posted a nice overview of geopolymer technology with an eye towards defense applications. These presentation slides by Dr. Kriven (.pdf) include some actual formulae.

kriven_acers_2004_mug_drop_bounce.jpg
Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • http://barleyhollow.wordpress.com barleyhollow

    Awesome! Ceramics on MAKE. Excellent. Note that the sodium silicate often gets a bit of soda ash added and is called “magic water” in pottery circles, and is used in joining seams in hand built pieces. Check out your pottery supply store for the raw materials.