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Home / NewTech / Foldable phones of the future could use this super-thin, bendable glass

Foldable phones of the future could use this super-thin, bendable glass



Corning's glass shielded gadgets long before the idea of ​​a foldable phone sprouted in anyone's imagination. The company began developing heat-resistant glass for lanterns and light bulbs in the mid-19th century, turned into television tubes in the 20th century, and today covers many of the daily telephone screens we use.

But to adapt to any shape, Corning's glass had to be developed almost as much as the technology that covers it. It is heat resistant, scratch resistant and is increasingly difficult to smash. And the next generation of foldable displays can soon be shaped by exceeding the limits of how much glass can be bent. We made an excursion to Corning headquarters in his hometown of the same name ̵

1; Corning, New York – to find out what the creators of Gorilla Glass are cooking next and what hints there may be about future equipment.

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Look this on:

The flexible glass, which is designed to be foldable …



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Finding the perfect recipe

To make glass, you need two basic ingredients: sand (silica gel) and lots of heat. However, adding different elements to the mix results in a completely different type of glass. In fact, even a change in heating temperature or cooling time can drastically change its properties.

So Corning comes with different types of glass, which can serve different purposes. Some glass, like the gorilla glass on our cell phones, is resistant to falls and resistant to scratches. Glass on windshields splinters into tiny pieces (rather than sharp pieces), while the glass used in laboratory cups needs to be strong enough not to interact with the chemicals mixed in it.

"When you think about all dimensions of glass, its appearance, its chemical composition, its physical properties, its electromagnetic properties, we learn to control all of these factors in an incredibly accurate way," says Jeff Evenson, senior vice president at Corning ,

The first stop of our tour and the first stage of the innovation process: The Corning's test kitchen, where these new glass recipes are tested. Instead of furnaces, however, there are rows of giant ovens that can reach temperatures of over 1800 degrees Celsius, hotter than the interior of a volcano.

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Corning's ovens, in which new glass recipes are baked at temperatures of over 1800 degrees Celsius.


Sarah Tew / CNET

The mixture is placed in a kettle-like container, called a jar, and placed in the oven like a pizza, with long metal pins to protect the workers from the heat. Everyone near the ovens wears a silver fire suit and a mask while spectators (like myself and the rest of the CNET team) use dark glasses to protect our eyes. The light in the oven was as bright as the sun.

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Glowing glass pours on the plate like syrup.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Gorilla Glass has to boil at even higher temperatures than normal glass, and when this pan comes out of the oven, it glows so bright that it looks almost white. The mixture inside has turned into a thick liquid that pours like syrup in front of us on the metal table. It starts as white as the container, turns into a neon orange when it cools down, and finally becomes clearer. The cooler it is, the less malleable it becomes, and if it cools down too fast, it can break. Once it is transparent, it is transferred to a special oven that controls the cooling rate. However, these days Corning is testing another type of glass recipe.

Bendable Glass

With Samsung announces the new Galaxy Foldable Phone and Chinese Enterprise . Royole unveils the foldable FlexPai . It's clear that 2019 foldable phones will be a real thing. And while OLED screens have long been flexible the product category does not work if these screens are not covered with similarly twisted glass – which is exactly the reason Corning continues to urge the envelope on how much glass bent can be.

"To get to a tight bend radius, you need to go to a jar that is much, much thinner than what you have today, and some of our jars. Our lab is thinner than a human hair," says Polly Chu , Technology director at Corning.

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Corden's ultrathin Bendable glass is still in development, but it can almost go to Half folded.


Corning

Early on we got a glimpse of Corning's ultra-thin, bendable glass, which is about 0.1mm thin and can almost bend like a piece of paper to a 5mm radius. It is not the first bendable glass, but it is much thinner and much more flexible than the Willow glass introduced several years ago.

I could hold the glass in my hands, and it was hard to believe it was a piece of glass and not a piece of thin plastic.

Plastic is also considered as a possible covering material for folding telephone displays. Unlike plastic, which tends to scratch, wrinkle, and change color over time, Corning says the glass retains its integrity and color.

"If you look at what people are calling for from their smartphones today, scratch resistance, drop resistance, good optical properties, great touch … I think glass is likely to overtake plastic as the material of choice for upholstery," says John Bayne , Vice President of Corning Gorilla Glass.

But Corning's glass is still in development, which means it's not yet available on foldable devices and it may still be a slow roll on the market. The FlexpPai, scheduled to ship in December, uses a plastic material to cover the screen while Samsung equips the phone with a transparent polyimide alternative.

"The foldable opportunity is now a bit of a moving target, because the use case is not quite and the form factor is not very clear," says Bayne. "Until these things manifest and become clearer, we have to innovate in the glass sector with different material options to see what the right product is … and schedule our development accordingly."

Glass occupies the driver's seat

While screens cover TVs and mobile devices in other industries, manufacturers are looking to glass to cover their displays. And when it comes to automotive design, Corning's glass could soon take the driver's seat. With the autonomy of the cars, screens for driver and passenger are displayed as a control and entertainment center inside the cars. "19659010" "Inside the car … almost all surfaces [in the car] have a shape other than this display, so the designers want to bend the driver and passenger," says Mike Kunigonis, vice president of Corning Automotive Glass Solutions. [19659016] 046-corning-tour-mag “height =” 0 “width =” 970 “data-original =” https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/Y6U_m-2LnM1hVtCCHN3hku21in8=/970×0/2018/12/05 /70866294-6e08-4b6f-8ab1-ceeed462cb1b/046-corning-tour-mag.jpg”/> [19659039(046-corning-tour-mag[196590194Thecurvedglassintheinteriorofthecartransformstheentiresurfaceintoausabledisplay


Sarah Tew / CNET

Corning has worked on curved dashboard displays for car interiors that wrap around the cockpit, and textured glass that mimics wood and other vehicle surfaces.

Using technology known as Dead Front, Corning can hide controls under that textured glass that only appear when the glass is backlit. This allows the controls to blend seamlessly into the console and merge with the dashboard. Even the car windows have the potential to become backlit touch screens that turn any glass surface in the car into a usable display.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

And with more glass in the driver's seat, good visibility is crucial to meeting safety standards. That's why Corning has also developed antireflective coatings for the glass that can reduce the appearance of fingerprints and dramatically improve glare. The company also makes the glass on the outside of the car more durable. Corning has partnered with automakers to develop windshield glass that is more resistant to rockfall and hail .

Ford, BMW and Porsche are just a few of the automakers that have begun using Corning glass in newer cars. Another 50 are expected to be introduced in the next 18 months.

The Future of Glass

In addition to cell phones and cars, Corning believes that glass will continue to play an important role in the development of new technologies that will help unlock the potential of this material.

"So far scientists I've integrated about 50 elements from the periodic table into silica, but essentially the entire periodic table is available, and I really think we're just starting in. Think about keeping the Oxford English Dictionary and Evenson says the number of words you can write with only 26 letters

Continue reading : How 5G Really Feels

Real too : We have an early look at the ultrasonic fingerprint reader

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