If you’ve ever dropped your smartphone on the floor or accidentally scratched the screen when putting the device in your pocket, believe me: the result could be worse. This is because several models in recent years have an additional resistance component on the display that guarantees some resistance to the panel.
It is Gorilla Glass, a special glass that is one of the layers of the screen of mobile devices, and is always present in the technical specifications of some electronics. Although already quite efficient, it is improved with each new generation, increasing the resistance of screens against possible accidents.
But do you know exactly what this feature is? For that, it is necessary to go back a little to the origins and production of this technology.
Making a new glass
The Corning glass development process involves strengthening through the exchange of chemical elements in its composition – a proprietary technology from Corning.
The most important step is when the aluminum silicate glass is tempered, which allows it to perform an ion exchange. The glass is immersed in a 400ºC solution that includes potassium salts.
At that point, the potassium ions shift and take the place of sodium ions. These new ions are larger, which means that they take up additional space and reduce the “empty spaces” of the accessory.
In addition, it undergoes several laboratory tests to simulate everyday conditions. All of this is done without any contact with human hands, to avoid contact with other substances or impurities.
It is because of this that Gorilla Glass is a “superglass” that is not indestructible, but significantly reduces damage. And, in addition to resistance, both against accidents and the simple intense use of the display throughout the day, the glass also allows for better signal reception and even improved wireless charging, depending on the generation used.
The gorilla’s strength
Corning developed the first edition of Gorilla Glass in a few months to present it to the world in 2007, with the initial generation of the iPhone as its flagship. Four years later, it was on phones from more than 30 manufacturers, on 400 million devices sold.
The second generation, from 2012, already showed evolutions: it was 20% thinner, without losing its original resistance.
The latest generation, on the other hand, is the Gorilla Glass Victus, a glass that has been tested to withstand drops of up to 2 meters in height and is four times more resistant to scratches than similar models.
Over time, Corning has expanded the segment to other devices. Gorilla Glass DX provides scratch resistance for wearable devices such as smartwatches. More recent generations, such as Gorilla Glass 3, can be applied to larger devices – such as the Lenovo Yoga C930, a hybrid between tablet and notebook.
The new promise is an even more revolutionary material: highly resistant glass for foldable smartphones. It hasn’t been introduced yet, but Corning’s track record indicates that it will soon be a reality.