Corning touts Gorilla Glass 3's advantages over sapphire in side-by-side tests

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In what seems to be a response directed at rumors saying upcoming smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, will switch from Gorilla Glass to sapphire as a cover material, Corning put its latest generation product to the test in a bid to show the material is comparatively superior.

The test results, along with a lengthy explanation and Q&A, was recently published in a feature on Corning's website (via MacRumors), with the company expounding on the damage resistance of Gorilla Glass 3.

As seen in the video below (warning Flash content), Gorilla Glass comes out on top over sapphire in a stress test:



Mentioned 40 times in the report, manufactured sapphire was obviously Corning's main target. A report last week outlined a rumor alleging that Apple will be utilizing man-made sapphire as a cover for the next-generation iPhone's home button.

Gorilla Glass, which is an alkali-aluminosilicate strengthened sheet glass, is currently used in nearly 1,000 products from 33 major OEMs. In fact, according to late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs' biography, the tech guru put Corning's invention to use in the original iPhone after it had been mothballed for some 50 years.

Gorilla Glass 3


The glass maker took on the recent speculation of a shift to sapphire head on.

?In one of our commonly accepted strength tests, sapphire breaks more easily than Gorilla Glass after the same simulated use," senior vice president and general manager of Corning?s Specialty Materials segment James R. Steiner said. "Additionally, sapphire?s cost and environmental hit are huge issues."

Further, the executive said Gorilla Glass is thin, durable, highly transparent and can be manufactured quickly and cost-effectively. In addition, the specialized material can be molded into various structural shapes, giving designers free rein to make innovative products.

Corning claims it has made Gorilla Glass thin enough to be implemented into devices with curved displays, a direction some believe is the next step in handset design. Future improvements include enhanced performance in sunlight and antimicrobial technology, the latter of which could allow for the glass to be used in hospitals and other public spaces.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member


    I think that Corning's assessment is reasonable, primarily due to the cost and density advantage. It looks like they had to introduce significant damage to weaken the sapphire before the strength test but, even setting that result aside, the Gorilla glass appears to be more suitable for this application. The main uses of sapphire depend on its hardness and far-IR transmission capabilities. The additional hardness would be desirable, but the IR properties are irrelevant.

  • Reply 2 of 21
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    muppetry wrote: »
    I think that Corning's assessment is reasonable, primarily due to the cost and density advantage. It looks like they had to introduce significant damage to weaken the sapphire before the strength test but, even setting that result aside, the Gorilla glass appears to be more suitable for this application. The main uses of sapphire depend on its hardness and far-IR transmission capabilities. The additional hardness would be desirable, but the IR properties are irrelevant.

    Even if the costs were the same the hardness of sapphire compared to GG isn't as important as GG's strength over sapphire. I've seen people complain about their display cracking but not about it's too easily scratched which is the only benefit sapphire really has here. For a camera lens and even a home button I can see it employed, but not for the display glass.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Let's see what happens when the Gorilla Glass is actually attached to an iPhone without a case then dropped on the street. In my experience it shatters. These non-real world tests in their ad are misleading.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    Let's see what happens when the Gorilla Glass is actually attached to an iPhone without a case then dropped on the street. In my experience it shatters. These non-real world tests in their ad are meaningless.


     


    That's exactly what I was thinking.  They need to show us crash tests or it is all meaningless.

  • Reply 5 of 21
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member


    Curious to know who they are targeting with this web publication. Can't imagine that's how they win over the likes of Apple, Samsung or Microsoft. That's accomplished by "one-on-one" marketing and sales.


     


    OTOH, is it useful to target the consumer? Would a consumer choose brand A over B because of GG3?

  • Reply 6 of 21
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,914member
    For those of you who've never seen sapphire crystals, I have a Swiss Army watch with a sapphire crystal and titanium band I bought in Switzerland over 10 years ago. The crystal is not scratched while the titanium has many minor "usage" scratches. I've banged the watch on occasion and it's still in one piece. IF, and I repeat that word, IF Apple is actually considering using sapphire crystals for an iPhone (or any device) front screen, I can see it not scratching at all. Of course, I'd still add a protective cover because it's a lot easier to replace the cover than the screen when I forget and put my keys in the same pocket as my phone.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,918member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    Let's see what happens when the Gorilla Glass is actually attached to an iPhone without a case then dropped on the street. In my experience it shatters. These non-real world tests in their ad are misleading.

    Someone did that already to compare the GS3 and the 4. The 4 held up and the GS3 popped apart.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post



    I think that Corning's assessment is reasonable, primarily due to the cost and density advantage. It looks like they had to introduce significant damage to weaken the sapphire before the strength test but, even setting that result aside, the Gorilla glass appears to be more suitable for this application. The main uses of sapphire depend on its hardness and far-IR transmission capabilities. The additional hardness would be desirable, but the IR properties are irrelevant.




    Even if the costs were the same the hardness of sapphire compared to GG isn't as important as GG's strength over sapphire. I've seen people complain about their display cracking but not about it's too easily scratched which is the only benefit sapphire really has here. For a camera lens and even a home button I can see it employed, but not for the display glass.


     


    I agree - and my point was that I would probably still choose GG even if the strengths were comparable. However, sapphire does apparently have a lower tensile strength than GG and is more brittle when seeded with defects by the tumbling treatment.

  • Reply 9 of 21
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    muppetry wrote: »
    I agree - and my point was that I would probably still choose GG even if the strengths were comparable. However, sapphire does apparently have a lower tensile strength than GG and is more brittle when seeded with defects by the tumbling treatment.

    Yeah, the tumbling makes it seem that sapphire would fare much better if that hadn't occurred. It would also be nice to see how well an impact (perhaps edge to edge pressure) affects these materials.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post



    I agree - and my point was that I would probably still choose GG even if the strengths were comparable. However, sapphire does apparently have a lower tensile strength than GG and is more brittle when seeded with defects by the tumbling treatment.




    Yeah, the tumbling makes it seem that sapphire would fare much better if that hadn't occurred. It would also be nice to see how well an impact (perhaps edge to edge pressure) affects these materials.


     


    Sapphire is significantly stronger and more impact resistant than thermally toughened glass, although that observation only applies to much thicker samples of course. Except under extreme dynamic conditions above its compressive strength, glass always fails in tension at defect sites. Glass is toughened thermally to resist that by creating an outer layer that is under permanent compressive stress - which works because defect-seeded cracks cannot propagate until the outer layer is driven out of compression and into tension. GG appears to manage the same trick on a much thinner scale by using ion diffusion into the surface to create the compressively stressed layer. The resulting material would be relatively immune to additional defects, which is why it may be relatively unaffected by the tumbling.

  • Reply 11 of 21
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Almost anything can be broken with a little effort. However I've owned two iPhones and two iPads now and have yet to have a cracked screen. Everyone of them has been dropped multiple times and only the iPhone 4 has ever been in a case.
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    Let's see what happens when the Gorilla Glass is actually attached to an iPhone without a case then dropped on the street. In my experience it shatters.
    Your experience is not the norm.
    These non-real world tests in their ad are misleading.

    I think your post is misleading.

    Even the insurance companies seem to agree with me. The claim rate for shattered glass on iPhone 4 is only slightly higher than previous iPhones for example
  • Reply 12 of 21
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


     


    That's exactly what I was thinking.  They need to show us crash tests or it is all meaningless.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


     


    I agree - and my point was that I would probably still choose GG even if the strengths were comparable. However, sapphire does apparently have a lower tensile strength than GG and is more brittle when seeded with defects by the tumbling treatment.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Yeah, the tumbling makes it seem that sapphire would fare much better if that hadn't occurred. It would also be nice to see how well an impact (perhaps edge to edge pressure) affects these materials.




    One other thing you notice the video didn't mention: What the screens looked like after the tumbling.  I'm expecting the sapphire showed much less scratching and glazing - or they would have mentioned the first test results.  Possibly very telling they didn't.....  ...and everyday wear and tear is another judging criterion for users.

  • Reply 13 of 21
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    Almost anything can be broken with a little effort. However I've owned two iPhones and two iPads now and have yet to have a cracked screen. Everyone of them has been dropped multiple times and only the iPhone 4 has ever been in a case.

    Your experience is not the norm.

    I think your post is misleading.



    Even the insurance companies seem to agree with me. The claim rate for shattered glass on iPhone 4 is only slightly higher than previous iPhones for example




    I am still shell-shocked from how easily my iPhone 4 screen shattered, from a fall of 3 feet to the street. My wife's iPad screen broke after a fall of 2 feet. So when I see an ad about Gorilla Glass being indestructible I get stressed.

  • Reply 14 of 21
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member


    duplicate

  • Reply 15 of 21
    bigmikebigmike Posts: 262member
    I'm more interested in tests being done with both attached to an iPhone. And also, notice how they didn't show details of the scratches, which is what I'm more concerned about.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,398member
    Jobs should have got sole usage rights, they didn't know what they had if they sat on it for 50 years.
    Apple could have licenced it.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »

    I am still shell-shocked from how easily my iPhone 4 screen shattered, from a fall of 3 feet to the street. My wife's iPad screen broke after a fall of 2 feet. So when I see an ad about Gorilla Glass being indestructible I get stressed.

    Where did you see an ad about Gorilla Glass being indestructible? I don't think it has ever been advertised that way.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    evilution wrote: »
    Jobs should have got sole usage rights, they didn't know what they had if they sat on it for 50 years.
    Apple could have licenced it.

    They didn't really have it if they didn't develop it for production. They didn't do that until they had a use case to develop it for.

    Apple only gave them the use case, and the urgency. If Apple bankrolled the production development, then maybe there could have been a reason for liscensing. Good thing for Corning they were able to do it alone. More sales for them.

    Nice idea, but this is a more reasonable armchair view I think.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    So when I see an ad about Gorilla Glass being indestructible I get stressed.

    Where has Corning stated that it was indestructible?
  • Reply 20 of 21
    I'm no scientist and I may be completely wrong but isn't it easier to break a bigger piece than a small piece. The sapphire piece they show is much larger.
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