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Battle of Glass: Tempered vs Gorilla vs Dragontrail

“Glass is glass. And glass breaks,” thus said the famous tech reviewer JerryRigEverything. And yet, over the years, science has stretched the practical applications of glass. So much so that we have been introduced to glass “stronger than steel.” Then again, just how tough has glass become, especially the ones we usually see everyday – our screens?

Tempered glass

If there is no indication what brand is being used for your phone screens, it is more likely a type of tempered glass that people might be quite familiar with. The art of tempering glass was believed to have been developed as early as the 17th century, and there is reason why such glass is called “tempered.” Said to be four times stronger than ordinary glass, the tempering process to create this glass puts the interior into tension and the exterior into compression. Only when greater force is applied would tempered glass shatter, but not into large shards or splinters like other glasses would. Instead, the tempered glass would disintegrate into smaller pieces, preventing potential injury. The process has also made cutting and shaping the glass different, as one would have to do so before tempering. Of course, one may say that not all tempered glass are the same, with its various forms in the market today likely to range between 5 and 7 in the Mohs scale of hardness. The hardest, diamonds, would be rated as 10.

Gorilla Glass

American manufacturer Corning has devised a way to further increase glass toughness besides the tempering process that usually involves changing temperatures, utilizing chemical strengthening (particularly the ion-exchange process, where larger potassium ions replace the smaller sodium ions) for their product. The result became an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet now known as Gorilla Glass. First announced in 2008, there has been multiple versions under this brand in the following years. The latest of which, Gorilla Glass Victus, claims to be four times better than competitive aluminosilicate glasses. Advertised to be capable of withstanding drops from 2 meters high, it is arguably more scratch resistant and more flexible than your usual tempered glass.

[ Realted reading: In the battle of smartphones, Corning takes the crown]

Dragontrail Glass

Developed by Asahi Glass Co. (AGC), the Dragontrail Glass has been launched in 2011. Rivaling Corning’s Gorilla Glass, the aluminosilicate Dragontrail makes use of the chemical float process for strengthening. Despite this difference in production, both appears to have similar objectives moving forward, including the increase in scratch resistance and flexibility of their products. Unlike Corning, however, Asahi has yet to publicly disclose its drop height numbers. A point of comparison, meanwhile, would be through another hardness scale. In the Vickers hardness scale, which came later than Mohs, Gorilla Glass reports a range of 590 to 691, while Dragontrail reports a range of 595 to 673. For better understanding of how tough that means, hardened steel is placed at 900 in the Vickers scale.

Conclusion

There are other types also competing in the market today, such as Huawei’s Kunlun Glass, but the question may arise: Why use glass in the first place? Even with huge advances in glass technology, as exhibited by those produced by Corning and Asahi, some might still be compelled to put an extra layer of tempered glass as added screen protection. It may not be common knowledge today, but plastic was an initial choice for the early smartphone.

The shift, however, was believed to be triggered by various reasons such as temperature capacity, display clarity, touch response, and scratch resistance, among others. Durability is one thing that older phone users might fondly remember of the pre-smartphone era. Then again, it also does not imply that glass is the only way to go. As technology progresses, perhaps humanity would be able to create a more suitable material than glass or plastic for their daily devices. What do you think would the next generation of phones look like in the near future?

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Avatar for Arius Lauren Raposas

A public servant with a heart for actively supporting technology and futures thinking, responding accordingly to humanity's needs and goals, increasing participation of people in issues concerning them, upholding rights and freedoms, and striving further to achieve more despite our limited capacities. In everything, to God be all the glory.

1 Response

  1. Avatar for Surendran Surendran says:

    Ok

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