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.