How Good Is Gorilla Glass?

Gorilla glasses have been ruling the smartphone world for a number of years now. There are so many features of gorilla glass with their different benefits. In this guide, we would look at the features of gorilla glass and why you need a phone with this type of glass. Read through keenly.

What is Gorilla Glass?

While it might look like a normal plate of very thin glass, Gorilla Glass has been chemically treated to make it tougher and more resistant to breaking. This is achieved by immersing the standard glass in a potassium salt bath at very high temperatures. Here, the small sodium ions that are in the glass normally are exchanged for larger potassium ones.

Corning likens the process to a chain link fence with tennis balls in every square, which you then replace with softballs. Strange sports metaphors aside, the combination of the glass and the larger ions creates a compressive stress layer, making the resultant material tougher than standard glass.

One of the ways this is significant is in terms of cracking. When normal glass gets damaged in some way, this usually leads to further cracking along the fault line, as the whole surface loses its integrity. Gorilla Glass minimizes this knock-on effect, keeping damage localized. It’s also more resilient when it comes to picking up knocks and scratches.

How Gorilla Glass is Made

Corning uses ion exchange to chemically strengthen Gorilla Glass by stuffing it with large ions, which creates a state of compression. The glass is dipped in a salt bath at 400 degrees Celsius (752 degrees Fahrenheit). In the bath, small sodium ions leave the glass and bigger potassium ions from the salt take their place.

The larger sodium ions take up more space in the glass and are pressed together as the glass cools, yielding a layer of compressive stress on the glass. The overall composition of the glass allows the potassium ions to diffuse further into the surface, creating a layer of compression that makes the glass highly resistant to damage and breakage.

Physical Properties of Gorilla Glass

Gorilla Glass has four main properties: hardness, thinness, lightness, and scratch resistance. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, Gorilla Glass rates a nine. For comparison, diamond—the hardest element in the world—rates a 10 on the Mohs scale. Regular glass rates a seven and is much softer.

The properties that make Gorilla Glass desirable—especially the hardness—can create problems cutting the glass down to usable sizes. Large sheets of glass are delivered to production facilities, and it’s up to them to cut the sheets into specific dimensions for their products. The glass is so much harder than conventional glass that cubic boron nitride (CBN) and diamond assortment tools are required to cut holes in it and form it into the desired shapes. Cubic boron nitride is a man-made abrasive that has properties similar to those of diamond, particularly hardness. Electroplated diamond and CBN contour tools are used to cut the slots in smartphone glass so that you can speak and hear clearly. Diamond grinding wheels are also used to round edges and remove any burrs or imperfections in the glass so that it will fit the phone cleanly. These specialized tools make more precise and consistent cuts so that little material is wasted during cutting.

How is Gorilla Glass Used

Smartphones were the first product to utilize versatile and strong glass, but new uses have been found for it since. The durable glass can be found in laptops, tablets, and wearable technologies such as smart watches, office walls, and GPS systems. The uses for it are ever-expanding.

In many instances, the military gets the latest and greatest tech ahead of the civilian world, and the heads-up display was no exception. They have been using heads-up displays (HUD) in fighter jets and helmets for years. Once the technology was declassified and made more widely available, the automotive industry took advantage.

In 1988, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was the first production car to offer a HUD option, and car companies have been improving and adapting the technology ever since. In the early days, the HUD was projected from the dashboard onto the windshield or onto a separate, smaller pane of glass. It was visible only to the driver.

Nowadays, there is a laminated inner layer of glass with phosphorescent molecules that glow red, green, or blue when illuminated by an ultraviolet projector. Next-generation HUDs also provide more information, such as road conditions, projecting it from within the windshield but focusing the driver’s vision from two to 10 yards in front of the vehicle. Drivers favor HUD because it allows them to keep their eyes on the road.

The automotive industry also uses lightweight, super-tough glass in high-performance sports cars. Using Gorilla Glass over conventional glass lowers the overall weight of the car, helping it achieve higher speeds. Lightweight windows also help cars meet carbon emission standards and get better gas mileage, making the car more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Types of Gorilla Glass

Gorilla Glass 1

The first Gorilla Glass was ready between 2005 and 2006, but its big debut really came with the iPhone. Apple released its device to the world in 2007, and, at the company’s request, the technology on its display was 1.5 mm thick and had an oleophobic coating, which minimized fingerprints and smudges.

The iPhone wasn’t the only smartphone to have Gorilla Glass on its display, though. Corning was able to get its tech onto about 250 devices in just the first generation.

Gorilla Glass 2

In 2012, Corning released Gorilla Glass 2 at CES. The glass was just as resistant, but its main update was its thickness. The second generation was 20% thinner than the first model. In lab tests, it could withstand up to 50 kg of pressure without cracking or breaking.

In that same year, Gorilla Glass was shipped on 600 million devices. Since this version was thinner than the first, it let manufacturers develop lighter and thinner models of their phones. Both the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S3 came equipped with Gorilla Glass 2.

Gorilla Glass 3

Gorilla Glass 3 glass brought even more resistance with it, unlike the previous version which was more focused on thickness. This is also the generation that introduced Native Damage Resistance (NDR) technology, which allowed the glass to handle even deeper scratches. According to Corning, the third generation prevented up to 35% of the scratches on the display.

To commemorate the third version of their tech, Corning planned on increasing the resistance of its Gorilla Glass three-fold compared to older versions. They could do this thanks to a new manufacturing process. GG 3 was released at CES 2013, and it came on models like the Galaxy S4, the Moto G, and the Moto X.

Gorilla Glass 4

In 2014, Corning presented its Gorilla Glass with a bold new objective. Through one of its surveys, the company found out that 70% of cell phone screen damage was due to drops, so it began investing in reinforcing its glass. Gorilla Glass 4 was developed and focused on the idea of being resistant to drops.

In fact, according to lab studies, the fourth version of Gorilla Glass was twice as strong as its predecessor.  The Galaxy Note 5 and ZenFone 2 Laser are a few models that came with Gorilla Glass 4.

Gorilla Glass 5

The fifth generation of Gorilla Glass – aptly named Gorilla Glass 5 – was released in 2016. It focused on providing even more resistance to drops, and it delivered four times the strength as the previous version. Corning also revealed that in lab tests, Gorilla Glass 5 managed to survive drops of up to 1.6 meters.

Gorilla Glass 5 also claimed that it was less susceptible to cracks even if the phone was dropped on extremely hard surfaces. Gorilla Glass 5 was used on products like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and the Moto G 5G.

It was also in 2016 that Corning announced its first-ever product for wearables, Known as Gorilla Glass SR+.

Gorilla Glass 6

Launched in July 2018, Gorilla Glass 6 was a real step up from the fifth generation. At the launch, Corning revealed that it had subjected the new variant to rigorous new testing methods. The result? Gorilla Glas 6 claimed to be strong enough to withstand 15 consecutive drops on to hard surfaces (from a height of 1 meter). It was rated to be twice as strong as Gorilla Glass 5 and is still fairly common on smartphones used in 2021.

Gorilla Glass DX/ DX+

In 2018, alongside Gorilla Glass 6, Corning also announced the launch of Gorilla Glass DX and DX+. Both these products were intended to be used on smartwatches and fitness trackers. Along with scratch resistance and durability, another factor that Corning focused on with Gorilla Glass DX was superior outdoor visibility.

These new glasses boast of an anti-reflective property which, according to Corning, offers better visibility while also improving scratch resistance.

Gorilla Glass Victus

In July 2020, Corning announced the launch of its latest iteration of Gorilla Glass for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables when it launched Gorilla Glass Victus. With this product, Corning also seems to have abandoned the numbering scheme that we have been so used to over the years.

According to Corning, lab tests have shown that Gorilla Glass Victus offers drop protection from a height of 2 meters (as opposed to 1 meter on Gorilla Glass 6.) It is also two times more scratch-resistant than its predecessor and offers 4 times more scratch-resistance than competing technologies from other brands.

Conclusion

To conclude, gorilla glass has evolved over the years with each year having its unique improvements. It is beneficial to you that you own a smartphone with gorilla glass, that way, your phone is more secure when it drops on the floor.

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