DETROIT: Gorilla Glass, long a mainstay in smartphones, is coming to cars. And Ford will be putting it in the GT windshields for a tough, durable, scratch-resistant window that is about 30 percent lighter than traditional glass.
Developed by Ford and Corning, Gorilla Glass hybrid window will be used on both the windshield and rear engine cover of Ford GT, contributing to enhanced vehicle handling, improved fuel efficiency and reduced risk of glass damage.
“Gorilla Glass hybrid is a great example of how Ford works with suppliers to innovate in every area of our business,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford group vice president, Global Purchasing. “Ford GT is setting new standards for innovation through performance and light-weighting, and we’re excited about exploring other applications for this great new technology.”
When tasked with developing lightweight and advanced material vehicle applications, the Ford team approached Corning, a leader in materials science that introduced light and durable Gorilla Glass to the consumer electronics market in 2007. Interested in further exploring potential automotive applications, Ford engaged Corning to help research and develop a unique formulation for exterior vehicle glass.
Once the technology was studied for Ford’s supercar concept, the team realised there were real-world applications for the new hybrid glass. A small, dedicated group comprised of purchasing and engineering employees from Ford and Corning fast-tracked the technology toward rapid introduction. Within four months, they were seeking program approval.
Gorilla Glass hybrid
A traditional automotive laminated windshield consists of two layers of annealed glass sandwiched around a clear, thermoplastic interlayer binding agent. Originally introduced in America by Henry Ford, the technology has been used in the auto industry for nearly a century.
The new hybrid glass uses a multilayer approach – a pane of toughened automotive-grade formed hybrid acts as the strengthened inner layer, an advanced noise-absorbing thermoplastic interlayer is in the centre, and an annealed glass serves as the outer layer. The result is a windshield and rear engine cover 32 percent lighter than competitive vehicles.
The new Gorilla Glass hybrid window laminate is 25 percent to 50 percent thinner, and has equal to, or greater strength than traditional laminate. Traditional laminate glass ranges from four millimeters to six millimeters in thickness, where Gorilla Glass hybrid window ranges from three millimeters to four millimeters. This remarkable reduction in thickness greatly reduces the weight of each panel. Plus, the glass is more robust due to advanced processes for contaminant reduction, chemical strengthening, unique edge treatment and laminate construction.
The reduced weight of the windshield, engine cover and bulkhead glass on Ford GT positively impacts acceleration, fuel economy and braking performance. Perhaps most important is the benefit on handling – removing the weight of glass high in the construction of the vehicle lowers the centre of gravity and contributes to the car’s outstanding agility.