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    Spherical nickel sulfide inclusion ball

    A rare impurity known as a nickel sulfide inclusion is a tiny metallic ball that grows over time with sufficient force that it can catastrophically shatter tempered glass. This is what nickel sulfide inclusions look like.

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Photo of the day

Reflection pattern at nickel sulfide inclusion
Varying the light in the picture, the light reflection reveals stress waves emanating from the inclusion. The stress is the cause of the glass failure. It developed slowly as the nickel sulfide inclusion grew over time, pressing against the unyielding encasing glass. One researcher estimated that this stress could reach 100,000 pounds per square inch. When the stress exceeded the ability of the glass to contain it, the glass failed catastrophically. Why catastrophically? Because tempered glass, by design, has a permanent internal tug-of- war to the tune of 10,000 pounds per square inch everywhere in the glass plate. Disrupt that structure, and you get...pop!