Flexibility vs strength: New glass contenders vie for smartphone glory

Summary:The glass companies Schott and Corning have both announced new developments that they hope will become standards in the consumer electronics industries.Schott says its Xensation Cover glass is stronger than Corning's Gorilla Glass.

The glass companies Schott and Corning have both announced new developments that they hope will become standards in the consumer electronics industries.

Xensation Cover glass

Schott says its Xensation Cover glass is stronger than Corning's Gorilla Glass. Image credit: Schott

The 128-year-old Schott said on Tuesday that its Xensation Cover glass, which it claims is even stronger than Corning's increasingly ubiquitous Gorilla Glass, was set to appear in portable devices in the third quarter of this year. A day earlier, Corning, even more venerable at 161 years of age, launched what it calls Willow Glass, a thin and flexible glass that can be wrapped around devices.

According to Schott, which has previously concentrated on smartphone camera unit covers more than touchscreen displays, Xensation Cover glass can take more compressive stress than "comparable materials on the market", with a 20-percent higher bending strength as well. Schott said the glass, announced on Tuesday, could also be chemically strengthened more quickly than competing products, saving time for device manufacturers.

While Xensation Cover glass is supposedly tougher than Gorilla Glass, Corning's next move is aimed at flexibility rather than strength.

Willow Glass is highly bendable and can be processed at temperatures of up to 500 degrees Celsius. Corning said this would make it possible to make displays and "smart surfaces" using a 'roll-to-roll' process similar to that used for printing newspapers.

"Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner," Corning Willow Glass programme director Dipak Chowdhury said in a statement.

"Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor," Chowdhury explained. "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."

Topics: Telcos

About

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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