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Could Gorilla Glass make the jump from smartphone screen to car windshield?

Gorilla Glass flex demoGorilla Glass works great for smartphones, but what if you replaced all of car’s windows with this resilient stuff?

Jeffrey Evenson, senior vice president of Gorilla Glass maker Corning, said the lighter material that is already used in 1.5 billion electronic devices could reduce overall vehicle weight and lower the center of gravity. Evenson made these remarks at an MIT Technology Review Mobile Summit in San Francisco.

Reducing weight is a great way to improve fuel economy; many carmakers are already experimenting with materials like carbon fiber and aluminum for chassis and body panels, but so far glass hasn’t entered the equation in a significant way.

Gorilla Glass’ scratch resistance could also prevent the small chips and scratches that can gradually grow and ruin automotive glass.

Automotive glass is typically made of two sheets of tempered glass with a sheet of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between. The PVB is a plastic that’s meant to hold everything together if the glass is broken, preventing a hail of glass shards from injuring vehicle occupants.

Gorilla Glass, on the other hand, is all glass. It’s strength and scratch resistance come from its aluminosilicate composition (consisting of aluminum, magnesium, sodium, and silicon dioxide) and a chemical strengthening process that involves bathing the glass in molten potassium salts.

The biggest obstacle to automotive application of Gorilla Glass so far is cost, but that may not stop carmakers from giving it a try. Evenson said an unnamed “high-end” carmaker will start producing cars with Gorilla Glass next year.

Which carmaker do you think is going for Gorilla Glass? Tell us in the comments.

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