The supposed sapphire display cover started making the rounds online on Monday and has since been subjected to all variety of stress testing to determine the part's durability.
In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday by HK Apple Daily, the component is put through the usual battery of scratch testing, stabbing and bending before seeing savage assessment involving fire and, ultimately, a car.
As seen below, testers are able to shatter the purported iPhone front cover by crushing it with a 1.6-ton vehicle. The result may be expected, though a closer look at the subsequent destruction yields some interesting clues as to the part's makeup and design.
Note the most damaged portion of the cover is the edge that first makes contact with the tire. It appears the overwhelming force shattered this leading edge and quickly propagated toward the trailing edge, breaking off a substantial portion of the window that was likewise crushed as the car moved over it.
Since a piece of the glass broke off cleanly -- without "spiderwebbing" -- by a compressive force rather than a high-energy kinetic impact, it can be inferred that the material is strengthened and possibly made of laminated layers. This does not necessarily mean the part is made of sapphire, but few materials can withstand extreme bending and exhibit resilience to surface scratches while being shatter resistant.
Corning's most advanced Gorilla Glass shares similar properties, but is still vulnerable to high velocity impacts as evidenced in numerous smartphone drop tests.
AppleInsider this week reported on an Apple patent for strengthening single-crystal sapphire through "residual compressive stress," which basically describes advanced tempering techniques. Another patent for lamination processes details construction methods in which a sapphire glass layup can be made flexible while retaining superior surface hardness.
Whether the purported iPhone front cover glass is actually made of sapphire or some other hardened material has yet to be determined, but it is interesting to see the part come out (mostly) unscathed from some serious abuse.