William Langer Jewel Bearing Plant
Rubies and sapphires feature low coefficients of friction, good shock resistance, a high index of refraction, low specific gravity, nonmagnetic properties, and high dielectric strength. They are thus widely used for industrial engineering applications. Although found naturally in S.E. Asia, E. Africa, and Australia, it is easier to create corundum in a lab than to mine it, so many early mine operations ceased in the 1920s. The William Langer Jewel Bearing Plant, built in 1952, is the only such plant in the U.S. Now owned by Microlap Technologies, Inc., it uses engineering innovations to produce ruby, sapphire, ceramic and carbide products.
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Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Material Science, Industrial & Manufacturing
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Fun Fact:Corundum is crystalline aluminum oxide, the second hardest mineral on the Mohs Scale. Rubies are red corundum; sapphires are any other color of corundum. Created naturally by the intense heat of volcanoes, rubies and sapphires can also be produced in a lab by using a process developed in 1902 by French chemist Auguste Verneuil.