June 12, 2013
Gorilla Glass May Soon Be Used For Car Windshields
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Gorilla Glass is probably best known as the (somewhat) impervious cover of approximately 1.5 billion smartphone screens.
According to Corning, the company could soon be shipping the mighty glass to automakers, which would be looking to take advantage of its lighter weight and soundproofing capabilities. A Gorilla Glass equipped car would theoretically offer a quieter ride with better gas mileage.
In comments made after MIT Technology Review´s Mobile Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday, Corning senior vice president Jeffrey Evenson said he expects at least one high-end auto maker to begin building cars that use some Gorilla Glass within the next year.
The installation of Gorilla Glass in cars would bring the Corning project full circle. The company experimented with car windshield technology in the 1960s. That research eventually laid the foundation for the development of modern-day Gorilla Glass.
The revelation comes just after Corning announced the release of the next generation of Gorilla Glass technology in May, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with Native Damage Resistance. James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager of Corning´s Specialty Materials department noted that the company is continuing to develop Gorilla Glass technology.
“We aren´t standing still,” he said. “We´ve already introduced three versions of Gorilla Glass since its launch in 2007.”
“We work closely with consumer electronics manufacturers to understand their new designs and additional features for future devices,” he added. “For example, we´ve begun to produce Gorilla Glass at a thinness level that allows it to be curved and formed into shapes without sacrificing any of its toughness. This will allow manufacturers to offer more distinctive devices in the future.”
Steiner also said that future iterations of Gorilla Glass will reduce reflections, addressing the common consumer complaint associated with viewing mobile device screens in bright sunlight: glare.
Some observers have speculated that manufactured sapphire crystal might become a viable alternative to Corning´s Gorilla Glass, citing its use in the production of high-end watches. Corning officials have said that strength tests have shown that sapphire is not as strong as Gorilla Glass.
In his comments this week, Evenson also revealed several other endeavors the company is pursuing. One technology currently in the development stage is “antimicrobial” glass that is scheduled to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency within the next few months, Evenson said. The groundbreaking material is designed for use in the health-care industry, as a sanitation aid, but could be used in other applications.
“The bacteria are obliterated,” Evenson said. “The number of germs on a smartphone exceeds the number of germs on a public toilet. We think there might be a bigger market.”
“Once we are ready to commercialize this version of Gorilla Glass, the application possibilities are enormous, including hospitals, public spaces, schools, and mobile devices and so forth,” Steiner remarked on the technology in an earlier statement.
Another highly-anticipated Corning product, Willow Glass, is described as being flexible like plastic, as thin as a dollar bill, yet retaining the durability and stability of glass. Evenson said Willow Glass could lead to “hundreds of new products,” from flexible displays to new insulating layers in semiconductors.