Part of the Wireless and mobile glossary:

Gorilla Glass is a scratch-resistant and durable glass product from Corning that is used to protect the screens of tablets, smartphone and other mobile devices. The glass is lightweight, strong and compatible with touch screen technologies. As a result of its strength, screens made of Gorilla Glass can be very thin. Gorilla Glass was first implemented in a mobile device screen in 2007, in the original iPhone.

Gorilla Glass is made from chemically strengthened alkali-aluminosilicate. The product’s strength is a result of the ion exchange process the glass undergoes during manufacturing. Once the glass has been manufactured, it is dipped in a bath of molten salt. Potassium ions from the salt bath are exchanged for smaller sodium ions in the glass. After the glass cools, the larger ions are packed tightly together, resulting in a deep layer of compression starting at the surface of the glass. The glass derives its strength from this layer of compression, and is less likely to suffer a serious break if the mobile device is dropped. If the glass does become scratched, this layer of compression keeps the scratch from worsening.

Gorilla Glass has a Vickers hardness rating of 622-701. Manufactured sapphire, an alternative product, is similar in strength to Gorilla Glass. However, while extremely durable, sapphire is expensive to manufacture. Related products from Corning include Lotus Glass and Willow Glass.

Gorilla Glass is fully recyclable and is compliant with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS).

This was last updated in April 2013
Contributor(s): Annamaria Lukes
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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