Science of Glass
Science of Glass
How it Works: Corning’s Fusion Process
Corning was the first manufacturer in the world to form specialty glass suspended in mid-air. It's the hallmark feature of the proprietary "fusion" process, a big key to Corning's innovation success over the past two decades.
Here's a quick breakdown on how the process works and why it's so important for Corning.
Raw materials – pure sand combined with other inorganic materials – flow into a large melting tank heated to temperatures well above 1,000 degrees Celsius. The molten glass is homogenized and conditioned before it is released into a large collection trough with a V-shaped bottom, known as an isopipe. The isopipe is carefully heated to manage the viscosity of the mixture and ensure uniform flow.
How it Works: Fibrance™ Light-Diffusing Fiber
Fibrance technology is basically a glass optical fiber that unleashes colorful lighting. Yet, to really understand it, you have to go back to the beginning when a Corning team uncovered how a fiber leak could become an innovation.
“We were researching how to minimize any losses of light from bending Corning® ClearCurve® optical fiber by modifying the refractive index of the optical fiber clad – in other words the outer layer ‒ with small inclusions called optical nanostructures,” ssaid Stephan Logunov, Senior Research Associate. The refractive index is a ratio to determine of how light is bent, or refracted, when entering a material like optical fiber.
How it Works: Strengthening Glass
Corning® Gorilla® Glass redefined the toughness and durability of consumer electronics. Thanks to this cover glass used on more than 4 billion devices, consumers have thinner, sleeker devices with exceptional damage resistance to the scratches and bumps of everyday use. What's more, Corning keeps making Gorilla Glass more damage resistant and proving its use in a growing number of applications – from elevators to vehicles.
Gorilla Glass gets its damage resistance from Corning's ion-exchange process. But, how does that work?
How Glass Scientists Took on the Challenge of Harnessing Light
he information we sort through on our electronic devices each day seems to come out of nowhere. Just as we turn on a faucet and expect to get water, we assume the bandwidth is there to support our online communications demands.
But it’s the powerful, always-on capability of global optical fiber networks – enabled by more than two billion kilometers of thin glass strands– that ensure that we can post, chat, download, and transact with ease.
The Secret of Tough Glass: Ion Exchange
How can today’s high-tech glass — found on smartphones, elevator walls, public kiosks, and more — be so tough that it withstands all the dropping, scratching, and splattering of everyday life? Part of the answer lies in the ion-exchange process.
Glass Continues Its Role in the World of New Medicines
For centuries, glass has been an indispensable laboratory partner for chemists and research scientists. So important were glass vessels in lab experiments that in the years before mass production, chemists frequently did double-duty as glassblowers, creating their own labware for measuring, mixing, and storing chemicals.
The Wonders of Glass
No material inspires more creativity. Scientists and artists alike have revered glass for the way it handles light and color, changes shape and take on new forms, while maintaining stability and strength. Artists, architects, engineers, and designers are turning to glass for its stunning characteristics.
Remarkable Glass the Stuff of Legends from Ancient Rome
Did flexible glass, so strong that a dent could be knocked out with a hammer, exist in first-century Rome? Probably not — but its stories do hold a small, intriguing place in ancient folklore.
The Glass Age — Centuries in the Making, and Just Getting Started
As modern times unfolded, glass took its place in almost every aspect of our lives. Glass lanterns helped guide railroad cars through safe crossings. Teardrop-shaped bulbs lit up our world. Glass tubes brought radio, then television, to the masses.
Space Exploration Depends on Crystal-Clear View
Glass has played a central role in space exploration since Galileo fashioned his first telescope in the early 1600s — and in so doing, opened up a world of limitless discovery.
TV Hosts Peer into Future of Glass in New Videos
Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage — known for taking complex scientific concepts and explaining them in lively, understandable ways — introduce viewers to The Glass Age with a brief look at the complex history of glass. And, Savage notes, "as a material, it has properties and characteristics we are only just beginning to understand."
Glass: The Quintessential Nanotech Material
For thousands of years, artists have worked with glass because of how it forms, feels, and handles light, while craftsmen have used glass for practical applications because of its stability, impermeability, and transparency. In the last century, scientists have made extraordinary advances in the characterization and fabrication of glass, leading to innovative applications in diverse fields such as architecture, transportation, electronics, communications, and medicine.
From Televisions to Tablets
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.
Creating Optical Fiber
Nearly 2 billion people are instantaneously and simultaneously accessing the Internet because of strands of glass thinner than a human hair. This glass, referred to as optical fiber, is not only ultra-thin, but extremely flexible, pure, and rugged.
Four Fiber Facts
Optical fiber is an ultra-thin, extremely flexible thread of glass that enables us to transmit information at high speeds across the room or across the world. Corning invented the first commercially viable low-loss optical fiber in 1970, and this glass technology has continued to improve in order to meet the growing bandwidth demands of today’s always-on world.
One Material, Many Layers
Did you know that today’s devices have different layers of glass?
It’s true. In fact, each layer has a distinct glass composition that enables it to perform a specific role within smartphones, tablets, televisions, or other devices. Check out why each layer of glass matters for the overall functionality of your device.
From its chemical compounds to its superior strength, longevity, and transparency, discover how glass continues to reinvent itself and solve new problems.
Boundless Potential Lies Ahead For Glass Innovation
Since the beginning of time, fascination with the unknown has launched sailing ships, ignited experiments, and propelled rockets into space. Explorers, whether they gaze out at the horizon or peer into a microscope, have always been relentless about unlocking secrets and opening the world.
Oxygen, Meet Silicon — And Let the Glassmaking Begin
Oxides – the chemical compounds that make up glass – represent most fundamental of chemical pairings: at least one oxygen atom with one other element.
The Glass Age: Stretch the Limits of Reality
Is there any limit to what glass can do? Some might think so, but as part of the Glass Age, we challenge you to explore the truth surrounding glass. You might just be amazed at what glass can do.