Corning’s Gorilla Glass is used in the screens of about 1.5 billion mobile devices around the world — you might even be reading these words on a device made from the material. It’s scratch resistant, lightweight, and very durable, making it perfect for smartphone touch screens. But Gorilla Glass could soon be expanding its reach to automobiles. Replacing some of the windows in a car with Gorilla Glass would help reduce the vehicle’s weight and lower its center of mass, which would lead to gains in fuel efficiency.
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Gorilla Glass is made using a chemical strengthening process called ion exchange that essentially stuffs ions into the glass surface, making it stronger and preventing cracks from forming. Because it’s much lighter than normal glass, replacing windows with Gorilla Glass would decrease the overall weight of a car, which could lead to fuel efficiency gains of a few percentage points. Corning’s high-tech glass will also make it quieter inside cars, Evenson said.
Speaking at MIT Technology Review’s Mobile Summit in San Francisco yesterday, Corning senior vice president Jeffrey Evenson explained some of the benefits of making car windows from Gorilla Glass instead of standard glass. Although Evenson didn’t mention any names, he said that at least one high-end automaker is interested in using Gorilla Glass windows in its cars within the next year.