The same lightweight, scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass used in your smartphone or tablet may soon take the place of traditional glass in your car. According to Automotive News, Corning, manufacturer of Gorilla Glass, says they see ‘see quite a lot of prominence’ for the material as a windshield and are already working with some automakers on production applications.
Gorilla Glass is a chemically strengthened glass that is not only stronger than traditional glass, but much lighter. As lightweighting becomes increasingly important for automakers in their efforts to improve fuel economy, Gorilla Glass becomes more and more appealing to them.
But the material has a trade-off, AN says. A traditional glass windshield costs about $20 to make, however a Gorilla Glass windshield could carry a $10-$24 premium, raising production costs significantly on a mass market scale. Ford says it is currently testing Gorilla Glass for production use, but due to the cost, it may only be used in cars where reducing weight is particularly important.
“We have a pretty good handle on what programs would need it to meet their weight targets,” Matt Zaluzec, senior technical leader for global materials and manufacturing research at Ford told AN. “Several programs are looking at it.”
Apart from windshields, Gorilla Glass may also be used in side and rear windows, sunroofs and dashboard displays. Corning also says the glass provides excellent optics for heads-up displays, so it could become prominent in performance cars going forward.
Despite the obvious advantages Gorilla Glass poses, Corning says it still may be several years before it is used on a mass-market automobile. Glass is an important aspect of vehicle safety, making OEMs reluctant to stray from what they know and are used to.
Creative Commons photo via Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr!