September 20th, 2009

Durability of glass as an under-sea construction material

My Story: I'm writing a fantasy story that features beings who live under the ocean but can spend time on land as well. I've been brainstorming what types of undersea homes/buildings/furniture, etc. they might use.

My problem: I really like the idea of these beings using glass to build many of their buildings and furniture, and I know glass must have significant resistance to saltwater corrosion because it is used in aquariums, glass bottomed boats, submersible vessels/exploration probes, etc. But I'm sure that after centuries the salt water will have some corrosive effects on the glass.

I'm having trouble finding concrete time lines for how long glass will resist the corrosive effects of salt water, and what types of glass are more resistant to corrosion.

I don't want to just fall back on the "it's magic glass" fantasy excuse. I'd like to know the real science before making my final world-building decisions. I want to know how long glass windows, tables, art objects, skylights, etc. would be able to last under the sea without showing signs of corrosion.

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UK Ministry of Defence Main Building (Modern Day)

Setting: London, 2020

I'm planning to write an attack on the UK Ministry of Defence Main Building, Whitehall.  At the beginning, at least, it will be from the perspective of a man entering the building.

I'm trying to find any information as to what is inside the building.  What kind of military man would work there?  Would the top brass be there, or are they in a more secure facility?  If there were protesters, would they even be allowed within a mile of the place?

Also, layout and/or interior design would be great.  I found two or three pictures, but I don't know if they're of the Main Building or of the old facility, pre-WWII.

I googled Ministry of Defence Main Building, Ministry of Defence Architecture, Ministry of Defence UK, as well as image searches for all of the above.  I also checked for London tour books and architecture guides through the local library, also with nothing.

I don't necessarily need minute detail, as I won't be spending much time within the building for the chapter.  Also, as it's 2020, advances in security tech or Department locations can be adjusted/guessed/faked.  I just want to make sure I'm not making it EXTREMELY different than reality, especially when it comes to security and the general look of the building interior itself.