What is Corning Gorilla Glass and How is It Made? | Corning Gorilla Glass

A Look Behind Corning® Gorilla® Glass

What is Gorilla Glass and how is it made?

What is Gorilla Glass and how is it made?

For the last decade, consumers have experienced the smartphone revolution which has literally changed the world.  Mobile devices have gone from novelty to necessity (did you know that more than one third of consumers worldwide check their phone within five minutes of waking up and that on average they proceed to touch their phone at least 2,617 times a day?*)

With all that our phones mean to us, consumers are demanding more from our mobile phones than ever before. They want devices that are thinner, lighter and aesthetically pleasing – but also more durable to better resist the abuses that come with mobility. And they want scratch resistance and advanced touch capability that keeps the world at their fingertips.

Corning Gorilla Glass has been a key player in the smartphone world from the very beginning. The cover glass that helps protect your phone from damage and enables that incredible touch experience began in a laboratory in upstate New York.  Corning's top scientists have performed thousands of hours of tests to understand how and why glass breaks when dropped. And they continue to innovate by finding new ways to strengthen glass to deliver dramatically improved performance against drops on rough surfaces.

How is Gorilla Glass Made?

Fusion-draw Process

Corning’s proprietary fusion manufacturing process is at the core of its leadership in glass technology and the cover glass industry. This extraordinarily precise, highly automated draw process produces a thin sheet cover glass with pristine surface quality, outstanding optical clarity and inherent dimensional stability – qualities essential for cover glass for consumer applications.

The process begins when raw materials are blended into a glass composition, which is melted and conditioned. The molten glass is fed into a trough called an “isopipe,” overfilling until the glass flows evenly over both sides. It then rejoins, or fuses, at the bottom, where it is drawn down to form a continuous sheet of flat glass that is so thin it is measured in microns. The glass is untouched by human hands or anything else that could introduce flaws into the surface.

The composition of Corning® Gorilla® Glass enables a deep layer of chemical strengthening through an ion-exchange process where individual glass parts are cut from the “mother sheet” and undergo an ion-exchange process.

Ion-Exchange Process

Ion exchange is a chemical strengthening process where large ions are “stuffed” into the glass surface, creating a state of compression. Gorilla Glass is specially designed to maximize this behavior. The glass is placed in a bath of molten salt at a temperature of approximately 400 degrees C. Smaller sodium ions leave the glass, and larger potassium ions from the salt bath replace them. These large ions take up more room and are pressed together when the glass cools, producing a layer of compressive stress on the surface of the glass. Gorilla Glass’ composition enables the potassium ions to diffuse far into the surface, creating high compressive stress deep into the glass. This layer of compression creates the surface that is more resistant to damage.

One of Corning's greatest strengths is its focus on developing the technology behind the glass. Corning’s research has delivered such life-changing innovations as the glass envelope for Edison's light bulb, the glass envelope for cathode ray picture tubes (CRTs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs), as well as the first low-loss optical fiber capable of use in telecommunications. We continue to investigate new glass compositions and process innovations at our four major research facilities: Sullivan Park in Corning New York; Corning Technology Center in Sunnyvale, California; Corning Technology Center in Shizuoka, Japan; and Corning Research Center Taiwan in Hsinchu, Taiwan.  

Scientists in these facilities work closely with the Gorilla Glass commercial, engineering, and manufacturing staff to anticipate industry trends and deliver new or improved glass technologies that add value to customers’ products and processes.

In addition to its flagship cover glass for smartphones, Corning has developed Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ specifically designed for wearable devices that significantly reduces visible scratches while delivering the toughness, optical clarity and touch sensitivity that make Gorilla Glass famous. Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass – the first EPA-registered antimicrobial cover glass -- is formulated with antimicrobial properties to protect touch surfaces and combat the thousands of bacteria that live on a mobile device surface as a result of everyday touching, tapping and swiping.  Vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass is yet another Corning innovation. Using its proprietary process, ink and equipment, Corning prints a colorful, customized design for smartphones, tablets or notebooks on Corning Gorilla Glass.

As new applications arise in the future, Corning will continue to innovate to meet the ongoing and growing needs of our digital lives.

*Sources: Deloitte, DScout