From Televisions to Tablets | The Glass Age | Innovation | Corning.com

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Science of Glass

Science of Glass

Science of Glass

From Televisions to Tablets

From Televisions to Tablets

Precision glass for today’s consumer electronics

The durability of your touch screen. The brilliant, high definition images on your television. The lightweight, thin form factor of your smartphone. The qualities of glass make these advantages possible. But not just any glass will do.

The glass that meets the needs of today’s consumer devices must be exceptionally thin, pure, stable, and flat. Combining all these elements into one precise glass technology is possible through a unique manufacturing method called the fusion process.

Pioneered by Corning, the exact science behind the fusion process remains a closely guarded secret, but in essence, this is how it works:

First, molten glass flows into a large trough until it overflows. Gravity pulls the flowing glass down each side until the streams merge or fuse in the air under the trough. As the glass evenly flows under the trough, it forms a pristine sheet of glass. The sheet is mechanically cut, removed by robots, and finished.

This tightly controlled process produces the precision glass that not only transformed the liquid crystal display (LCD) industry, but also helps create the high resolution, touch-enabled tablets, smartphones, and other devices that consumers demand. Here are some of the attributes that make fusion-formed glass important for today’s consumer electronics:

Thinness

The fusion process creates very thin glass sheets with extremely flat surfaces. And because this pristine glass surface forms with in air, it doesn’t need costly surface polishing before being incorporated into the display. While those features give fusion a distinct advantage over other glass manufacturing methods, it also enables devices to be thinner, more lightweight, and affordable for consumers.

Stability

Fusion-formed glass is very stable. This a vastly important factor in creating the intricate circuitry that makes those brilliant computer and TV images possible: the glass can stand up to high process temperatures with minimal change in dimensions. The stability of the glass helps create the bright, vivid images and superior picture quality we come to expect in today’s devices.

Purity

The purity or optical clarity of glass is just as essential on a smartphone as it is in a large screen LCD TV. When produced in sheets larger than a king  size mattress, fusion-formed glass is so pure that it would take you more than 100 sheets of glass or so to find one microscopic flaw.

Flatness

The smooth, flatness of fusion-formed glass is an absolute must-have to ensure top performance, especially in areas of wide viewing angle displays. Imagine a sheet of glass as big as the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Fusion-formed glass is so flat that it would equate to only a 3-centimeter high ripple on the surface. This flat, smooth glass surface translates into an overall better display.

Versatility

The fusion process can produce precision glass in sizes that are larger than a king-size bed sheet and as thin as a playing card. This versatility creates the glass compositions and sizes needed for smartphones, televisions, tablets, notebooks, and other devices.

To learn more about the fusion process, watch this video or explore the infographic above on how the fusion process creates the foundation for Corning’s glass innovations