We don’t have to tell you that smartphones have gotten bigger and bigger over the years. For a company like Corning, it creates a problem — the longer the screen diagonally, the more stress the glass is under when you inevitably drop the phone to the ground.
This means it has to keep improving its strong glass formula to keep up with changes in smartphone design. It launched Victus a few years ago, then an enhanced version in , and now it’s time for a sequel, Gorilla Glass Victus 2.
Concrete (left) is rougher than asphalt (right), increasing the risk of breakage (Image source: Corning)
Smooth (and possibly carpeted) floors in your home don’t pose much of a risk to modern smartphones. The rough surface on the outside is another matter, though. If the glass isn’t tough enough, asphalt can scratch the screen, and concrete is worse.
That’s what Corning is aiming for with this generation of GG Victus – concrete. It’s a mix of cement, sand, and rocks, and one of those rocks can literally ruin your day if you drop your phone. Concrete is rougher than asphalt and the company uses 80 coarse sandpaper to approximate concrete to asphalt gravel. Mixing materials of different sizes creates an uneven surface, so a slightly protruding gravel can focus all the impact in one point. The smooth floor tiles you probably have in your home spread the force, which really reduces the chance of glass shattering.
Using laboratory machines for testing, Corning developed the Victus 2, which can survive a one-meter (hip height) drop onto concrete. If you happen to be walking on tarmac, the glass can withstand a 2 meter (head height) drop.
Using robots means tests are accurate and easily reproducible (Image credit: Corning)
As we said, bigger phones are a problem. Not just because of the larger screen diagonal, the phone has also gotten heavier – the average smartphone today is 11 According to Corning, % larger and heavier than it was four years ago 003%. Compounding the problem is the fact that more weight equals more force when the phone hits the ground.
It is not enough to survive an impact without shattering, however, the glass must also be resistant to scratches. These are two different problems, although they sometimes have the same cause – dropping your phone on a rough surface. This is not always the case, pockets and tables are also at risk of being scratched. Additionally, thanks to the popular “glass sandwich” design, Gorilla Glass not only protects the display on the front of the phone, but also the back of the phone.
Victus Corning believes it has found a good balance between drop performance and scratch resistance. The drop performance of the Victus 2 on rough surfaces is preserved while maintaining scratch resistance.
Victus 2 smartphones with Gorilla Glass are expected to be available in the next few months. which? Corning isn’t giving any names at the moment, but it maintains a list of devices currently using GG — the sequel to phones using Victus(+) will likely be upgraded to version 2.
postscript. We spoke to Scott Forester, vice president and business director of Corning’s Glass and Operations Council division, and asked about the challenges of making strengthened glass for smartphones. More related content will be introduced in another article.