Gorilla Glass Maker Corning Debuts Flexible Willow Glass

Most of us know Corning as the maker of Gorilla Glass, the super tough glass that's become an almost ubiquitous feature when it comes large-screened smartphones of today. Usually focused on all things tough and scratch resistant, Corning is today taking things in a different direction with the unveiling of Willow Glass, a new flexible solution aimed at ultra slim designs. 

Corning says that, as well as its use in slimmer display designs, the company says the strength and flexibility means we could also see Willow Glass used in curved or wraparound displays. Willow Glass can be processed at temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius, which opens up the possibility of  high-temperature, continuous 'roll-to-roll' processes. Corning says these have so far been impossible. Additionally, thanks to advancements in fusion forming, they can make glass that measures just 100 microns thick, or about as thick as a regular sheet of copy paper.

 

"Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor," said Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director. "Currently manufacturing in a sheet-to-sheet process, we expect Corning Willow Glass to eventually allow customers to switch to high-throughput, efficient roll-to-roll processing, a long-awaited industry milestone."

Corning says Willow Glass is initially being launched as an advanced display substrate, however, the company is also actively working on other uses for the glass, such as in lighting and flexible solar cells. Samples of Willow Glass are shipping to companies developing new display and touch applications but full production won't begin for a while. 

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  • Anonymous
    Meanwhile, Apple continues to use normal glass for everything and ignores Gorilla badassery...
    20
  • Solandri
    WyomingKnottIs the example in the first picture being bent by the person holding it, or was it heat-formed in that shape? A video or series of snaps might help prove the point.

    Probably being bent holding it. Regular glass is actually very flexible. It's the thickness which prevents it from flexing (the greater the thickness, the greater the elongation of the outer edge in a bend, and glass is very brittle when it comes to elongation). If you can make glass very thin, its flexibility really shows. Fiberglass and optical communications fibers are good examples of its flexibility.

    My concern would be what the shards are like when it breaks. Fiberglass and optical fibers can be looped into a very small radius circle. But if you make the radius smaller (like tying it in a knot), it will fracture, and the ends are rather sharp. It is still glass. In all likelihood this will have to be coated with a plastic layer like car windshield glass to prevent it from shattering into a thousand paper-thin shards with razor edges.
    14
  • djscribbles
    I shuddered at the thought of getting a 'paper' cut from a piece of that stuff...
    13
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    Meanwhile, Apple continues to use normal glass for everything and ignores Gorilla badassery...
    20
  • sacre
    As much as I enjoy and hate my iPhone, its delicate body pisses me off. I have to always use a case or else this thing risks being a 200+ charge on my list of already high bills. So I can't enjoy its look or natural feel, always have it wrapped up in 1000 layers of shock resistant material.

    Unfortunately Apple has got their company so far up their ass that the tape worms keep fending off all the things that could help make the iPhone better overall. Like this type of glass.
    12
  • WyomingKnott
    Is the example in the first picture being bent by the person holding it, or was it heat-formed in that shape? A video or series of snaps might help prove the point.
    4