You’ve probably heard of the gorilla glass; you may have it on your mobile phone. Have you ever wondered what it really is and how it is made? I will give you the answers to these questions below.
Simply put, this is a special type of glass designed so that the glass is thin, light and resistant to damage . This technology has a very large application in the electronics industry and is used on portable electronic devices – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and even on TV screens.
Who Invented Gorilla Glass?
“Gorilla glass” is a brand of the famous American company Corning that developed it. The history of this product dates back to the 1960s. Corning’s experts performed various chemical experiments with glass to strengthen it and finally succeeded in creating “Chemcor”. This type of glass was used in the automotive industry (especially on racing models that significantly reduced weight), the aerospace industry, and pharmacy until the mid-1990s.
Corning is relaunching experiments that will further strengthen and thin the glass in 2005. The experiments were very successful and continue today. The fourth generation of this product is now in use.
How is Gorilla glass made?
The answer to this question is not very simple – it includes incredibly high temperatures, a special chemical mixture, robots and a special hot, salt bath. For starters, let’s say Corning takes silicon dioxide (SiO2), combines it with other chemicals, and melts it all into a glass mass. The resulting glass is aluminosilicate, that is, glass that contains aluminum, silicon, oxygen and sodium (remember this element, Na) and is still nothing special.
In the next phase, the molten glass is poured into special troughs in the abundance of the Latin letter “V”. The pouring is not interrupted until the glass mass begins to overflow from its trough. It is this overflowing amount of glass that is used. Automated robotic hands pull out these thin sheets, barely half a millimeter thick, and carry them for further processing.
The final process is what makes “Gorilla” glass unique – it is a warm, chemical bath in which an ion exchange takes place between sodium ions (this is why sodium is important) from the glass itself and the potassium in the salt bath.
Because potassium ions are larger than sodium ions, they cannot just fit into the complex chemical compound of glass. Therefore, it is necessary to perform this process under extremely high temperatures (over 400 degrees Celsius) in order for ion compression to be performed in a proper manner.
What is obtained with this replacement is much stronger and more resistant glass, which is thin and extremely suitable for combination with touch sensors.
Gorilla Glass and Apple
It is interesting to mention that the trigger for re-experimentation that would lead to better glass performance was none other than Steve Jobs. In 2005, he asked the top of Corning to make a very strong, scratch-resistant glass that would be used for the new Apple phone (you guessed it, they later called it the iPhone). Everything else is history.
With the success of the iPhone and “gorilla glass”, it has become a popular technology that has been adopted by all mobile device manufacturers over time.
iPhone with gorilla glass
The collaboration between Apple and Corning continues. You may be aware that the iPhone 6 has Ion-reinforced glass a special type of glass developed by Corning. There are speculations that Apple still wants a slightly firmer material for its displays – sapphire, so Corning is directing its development in this direction.
These rumors are confirmed by the fact that the Apple watch has a display made of this material. Sapphire is more expensive and increases the price of the final product, but it is also the most resistant known material suitable for placement on the displays of portable electronic devices.
So don’t be surprised if the next iPhone launches with sapphire crystal and is even more expensive than the current model.
Where is all Gorilla Glass used?
The final list of companies that use this technology will never be known to us, because some companies have such contracts with Corning that insist that they remain secret.
However, despite that, it can be said that most of the leading brands in the world of electronics today use this type of glass to complete their devices. Some of them are Samsung, Sony, Nokia, LG, Lenovo. You can see a detailed list on Corning’s website.
Final question: Is Gorilla glass breaking?
The answer is: YES. Although it is more resistant to the usual falls and shocks, this glass is not indestructible. If you shake it hard enough, it will break and shatter like any other glass. So be careful with your devices though.