Gorilla Glass could come to cars


Gorilla Glass could come to cars

You may have never heard of Gorilla Glass, but if you own an iPhone you poke, prod and run your fingers over it every day.

Yes, the toughened glass, which can shrug off even severe scratches and knocks, is used in no less than 1.5 billion electronic devices worldwide, and it could soon be used to create car windscreens.

With carmakers seeking to maximise fuel economy, replacing the vast expanse of laminated glass in front of the driver with the much lighter Gorilla Glass could pay dividends. As well as improving fuel consumption, the glass would lower the vehicle's weight and centre of gravity, improving handling.

Cabin refinement would also improve, thanks to the glass's superior sound insulation qualities, according to Corning vice president Jeffrey Evenson. He expects at least one premium manufacturer to start utilising Gorilla Glass in some way over the next year.

Corning, the company behind Gorilla Glass, is working on yet another innovation: antimicrobial glass. Hoping to get US Environmental Protection Agency certification in the next few months, it would initially be used in hospitals to improve sanitary conditions around electronic medical devices such as life support machines.

A transition to smartphones is also a possibility: "The number of germs on a smartphone exceeds the number of germs on a public toilet. We think there might be a bigger market," said Evenson, speaking at the MIT Technology Review Summit.

A further development from Corning that could make it into cars is its new Willow Glass. As strong and durable as Gorilla Glass, but with the flexibility of plastic and as thin as a £5 note, the new invention could be used to create electronic graphical displays where previously it was not possible, such as on the steering wheel, arm-rests and even on the car's key-fob.

Indeed, with Corning hinting the glass could lead to the creation of hundreds of new products, the possibilities are almost limitless.