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Tech InDepth: How does Gorilla Glass keep your smartphone display safe?

What is Gorilla Glass? How is it made, and how does it work? Find out in today’s edition of Tech InDepth.

Gorilla Glass, tech indepth,Here's a deeper look at how Gorilla Glass works to keep your smartphone displays free of scratches and cracks. (Express Photo)

Corning’s Gorilla Glass has been around for years now, going through multiple versions to protect some of the most popular smartphones today. The latest in the series is Gorilla Glass Victus 2 which launched earlier this week. While the technology is synonymous with display protection, just how much do we actually know about Gorilla Glass, its various versions and how it actually works?  In today’s edition of Tech InDepth, we look at how Gorilla Glass actually works and understand what goes into making Gorilla Glass Victus 2 so strong.

What is Gorilla Glass?

The screen is the most important aspect of most modern smartphones, acting as the primary input and output component for most tasks. It is imperative that it remains clean, functional and damage-free for long-term usage. But how do you make glass, one of the most fragile materials around us, strong? This is exactly where Corning and its Gorilla Glass comes in.

The Gorilla Glass series comprises a layer of toughened glass that sits above the digitiser on a smartphone screen. It protects the components underneath from damage primarily from drops and scratches. By staying free of cracks and scratches, the glass layer also ensures good visibility for the user and a smooth touch experience while using the phone.

How is it made?

Before we get into Gorilla Glass, we need to understand the concept of toughened glass. Toughened Glass is a type of glass that has been a part of most phones and other handheld devices for years now. Unlike normal glass which can crack easily, toughened glass uses chemicals to make the bonds between its solid molecules even stronger, making the material much more resilient to damage.

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Using a process called Ion Exchange, glass with Sodium ions embedded in it is dipped into a bath of liquid potassium salt. The Potassium ions displace the Sodium ions when the bath is heated to temperatures of around 400 degrees Celsius. However, the newly embedded Potassium ions are also larger than the Sodium ions.

This gives the molecular structure of the material a form of internal rigidity, with the larger potassium ions now pushing against each other in the limited space, making the molecular bonding of the structure much harder than before.

From there, Corning has made its Gorilla Glass tougher over multiple versions over the years. While the ion exchange fundamentals remain the same, what changes is how deep the process is implemented on the glass. With Gorilla Glass Victus, Corning began giving the glass sheets a second ion bath, displacing more Sodium ions with Potassium ions, strengthening the glass more. Additionally, Corning also uses stronger glass compared to the early Gorilla Glass years. However, what tech goes into this glass is a well-kept trade secret that is key to Corning’s business.

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Gorilla Glass Victus 2: What’s new?

Victus 2 is an improvement over the original Gorilla Glass Victus standard which was announced back in 2020. The main improvement with Victus 2 is the protection the glass offers against drops.

Corning has used new, improved methods to make the glass stronger, and has also updated their testing parameters, now using rougher surfaces to imitate real-life drop surfaces like concrete or asphalt, and also using heavier pucks to simulate today’s heavier phones.

Is Gorilla Glass the only toughened glass out there?

Well, no. While Gorilla Glass is one of the major protective glass manufacturers in the business, there are other names you may have come across like Dragontail Glass or the more popular, Sapphire Glass which is used on many high-end wearables today like the flagship Apple Watch series variants.

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Sapphire Glass uses a different chemical process to make triangular-placed aluminium oxide molecules, which are stronger against scratches. But it is also much more expensive to produce compared to Gorilla Glass. As per reports, Sapphire is about ten times more expensive to produce compared to Gorilla Glass.

First published on: 01-12-2022 at 17:00 IST
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