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Gorilla Glass Maker Corning Debuts Flexible Willow Glass

By - Source: Corning | B 19 comments

First Gorilla Glass, then Lotus Glass and now Corning is working on 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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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    Anonymous , June 4, 2012 9:05 PM
    Meanwhile, Apple continues to use normal glass for everything and ignores Gorilla badassery...
  • 14 Hide
    Solandri , June 4, 2012 9:31 PM
    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.
  • 13 Hide
    djscribbles , June 4, 2012 9:26 PM
    I shuddered at the thought of getting a 'paper' cut from a piece of that stuff...
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    Anonymous , June 4, 2012 9:05 PM
    Meanwhile, Apple continues to use normal glass for everything and ignores Gorilla badassery...
  • 12 Hide
    sacre , June 4, 2012 9:13 PM
    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.
  • 4 Hide
    WyomingKnott , June 4, 2012 9:14 PM
    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.
  • 13 Hide
    djscribbles , June 4, 2012 9:26 PM
    I shuddered at the thought of getting a 'paper' cut from a piece of that stuff...
  • 14 Hide
    Solandri , June 4, 2012 9:31 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    chibiwings , June 4, 2012 9:38 PM
    Looks Promising.. i think it can be apply on Foldable LCD or LCD that can be rolled.
  • 1 Hide
    danwat1234 , June 4, 2012 10:38 PM
    I whip my glass back and forth
  • 2 Hide
    nforce4max , June 4, 2012 10:51 PM
    sacreAs 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.


    Well said, it isn't just apple but many other companies that either just don't care about quality or make a extra buck at all costs.
  • 2 Hide
    jwcalla , June 4, 2012 11:41 PM
    I can't believe my Galaxy S screen has yet to take on a blemish. My HP TouchPad got a nick within the first couple weeks though. Still not sure what hit it.
  • 2 Hide
    noreaster , June 5, 2012 2:28 AM
    Paper thin glass...what will they think of next?

    My grandfather worked in the automotive glass industry and would be amazed to hear about this stuff.
  • 2 Hide
    tomfreak , June 5, 2012 2:47 AM
    I am waiting a day where they can coat a thin sheet of scratch resistant glass on my car to make my care scratch proof + more glossy .
  • 1 Hide
    husker , June 5, 2012 3:11 AM
    This may seem like a dumb question, but what exactly does bendable glass offer to the world that bendable clear plastic can't already do? Bendable displays would be nice for sure, but bendable glass is just a novelty as soon as someone figures out how to build a display using plastic (or some other material) instead of glass. Bendable glass seems like a solution in search of a problem.
  • 6 Hide
    Flying-Q , June 5, 2012 5:34 AM
    huskerThis may seem like a dumb question, but what exactly does bendable glass offer to the world that bendable clear plastic can't already do? Bendable displays would be nice for sure, but bendable glass is just a novelty as soon as someone figures out how to build a display using plastic (or some other material) instead of glass. Bendable glass seems like a solution in search of a problem.

    First off glass is highly transparent, far more so than plastic.
    Glass is fairly immune to ultraviolet degradation, plastic tends to be more susceptible leading to transparency, strength and brittleness issues.
    The hardest plastics are less scratch resistant than most glasses.
    Glass has a lower coefficient of thermal expansion than the majority of flexible plastics.

    I could go on and on, but that would be tl;dr
    Others can add to the list if they want.

    Q
  • 0 Hide
    husker , June 5, 2012 1:34 PM
    @Flying-Q - Sounds reasonable, thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 5, 2012 2:34 PM
    The amount of pure virtrol & hate in an article unrelated to Apple is quite amusing to me.
  • -1 Hide
    830hobbes , June 5, 2012 2:45 PM
    Also, for certain types of displays, they can't use plastic as a substrate because it can't handle the processing temperatures. Glass can.
  • 0 Hide
    subaru41 , June 5, 2012 3:04 PM
    Another one of the thousand reasons why Android is better that Apple. I have dropped my iphone from a foot from the ground and shattered the back side, and before that a 3 foot drop that shattered the front glass. Between my HD2, Sensation, and GS2, I have never had a shattered screen out of the times I dropped my android phones with Gorilla Glass.

    My favorite thing that isheep complain about is android and how they have cheap plastic backs. I personally would rather have a cheep plastic, metal backing than a glass back that shatters from the smallest drop. The iPhone is so far behind in technology and cheap glass that shatters easily so they can charge more money is not helping their status.
  • 0 Hide
    TheBigTroll , June 5, 2012 10:46 PM
    hey. i dropped my ipod down 3 stories and have yet to see it die. the only thing that was damaged was a little nick in the back metal
  • 0 Hide
    masmotors , June 6, 2012 11:20 PM
    i droped ipod 4g the toy one anyway it shattered still using with cracked screen still works i will fix soon but i have 1 more so its cool i dropped my droid phone same way and no crack i love my droid phone tuffness and this stuff looks cool