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What is Gorilla Glass and How Does it Work?

What is Gorilla Glass and How Does it Work?
Gorilla Glass from Corning has found its way to almost all the screens of mobile phones, and other gadgets. But what is Gorilla Glass? How does it work? And what does it actually do? This Techspirited article answers all these questions and more ...
Alex Mathew
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
Back from the past!
Gorilla Glass is an upgrade of Corning's Chemcor Glass, released in 1962. It was intended for phone booths, prison windows, and eye wear. It was shelved, fearing that it would shatter with a lot of force.
These days, we have mobile phones which pack in enough processing power to put the 'supercomputers' of yesteryear's to shame. It also is no secret that touchscreens are the latest trend, be it for your mobile phone, your television, your watch, or even your music player. But touchscreens, no matter how amazing, have always had a fundamental problem―they can be rather delicate, or so was thought about them till recently.
Ever since the very first portable touchscreens popped up on high-end mobile phones in the early 90s, the technology of touchscreens has seen a lot of development. Till a few years ago, these touch devices made use of resistive screen technology, wherein the screen itself was made of plastic. These screens were made of two screens with resistive coating layered one on top of the other, separated by an air gap. Its main drawback was that often, touch would not be registered, and would require a fair amount of force to register. The use of these resistive screens made the device light; however, the screen itself was a scratch-magnet. Over time, owing to the daily abuse of these screens, the devices were rendered useless.

Screen manufacturers then looked for other alternatives to make their screens more durable, without compromising on functionality. Glass was the first, and most obvious choice, but although it was a lot less susceptible to scratches, it had its own share of problems. Ordinary glass is extremely brittle, and tends to crack at the slightest application of pressure. Though, ordinary glass does not get big scratches easily, it is plagued by small scratches that appear on it when used frequently. Another major disadvantage of regular glass is the fact that it offers almost no flexibility whatsoever.
Mobile With Gorilla Glass
The Entry of Gorilla Glass
Back during the development phase of the revolutionary iPhone, Steve Jobs, and his team at Apple, were looking for a screen to don their device, one that would add to its aesthetics, while lending strength and durability. They approached glass and ceramic makers, Corning Inc., for a solution. Corning was already working on a glass that would be highly resistant to scratches, and was surprisingly strong, yet thin. This glass was then commercially released on the iPhone, and was greeted by rave reviews, with many accolades showered upon it. It was soon hailed as one of the most revolutionary innovations of the 20th century.
What Makes Gorilla Glass So Special
Gorilla Glass is known to withstand tremendous pressure, use and abuse, and emerge unscathed without so much as a scratch. In the land of glass, you can think of it as Superman, in Iron Man's armor! This in no way means that Gorilla Glass is indestructible, just that it is many times more durable than ordinary glass. Gorilla Glass is essentially aluminosilicate glass, which undergoes an ionization process at an extremely high temperature of 752°F (400°C). The resultant glass is very strong, flexible, thin, and makes for a perfect protective layer for capacitive screens.
How Gorilla Glass Works
It is a common misconception that Gorilla Glass is used to make capacitive displays. Instead, Gorilla Glass is not the capacitive screen itself, but is the protective screen on it. As the glass layer is so thin, it registers even the faintest of touches on it. The screen also seems brighter, as the clear sheet of glass barely obstructs any light emitted by the display.
Gorilla Glass now finds its way onto the bigger displays of notebooks, laptops, and even TV screens. True to its name, Gorilla Glass has every reason to thump its chest, as it is the ultimate hero 'on screen', claiming to protect the displays of more than 1 billion devices. Meanwhile, a lot of alternatives to Gorilla Glass, like Dragontail, Sapphire Glass, Xensation, etc., have entered the market. However, Gorilla Glass has amassed a huge lead over its competition, and is looking at other avenues to explore.