The thin, lightweight glass found on more than 4.5 billion smartphones worldwide is making its way into the automotive market, with the help of plastic.
The Ford GT supercar is the first production vehicle to replace standard windshield glass with a three-layer hybrid windshield consisting of Gorilla Glass, annealed glass and a sound deadening thermoplastic interlayer.
Ford worked with Gorilla Glass owner Corning Inc. to develop the technology, which is also used on the vehicle's rear engine cover. At 30 percent lighter than traditional glass, the hybrid saves more than 12 pounds of vehicle weight, according to Corning.
The windshield consists of automotive-grade Gorilla Glass as the inner layer and annealed soda lime glass as the outer layer, sandwiched around noise-absorbing thermoplastic adhesive. Ford says the window laminate is 25 to 50 percent thinner than traditional laminate.
Ford last year used Gorilla Glass on the windshield and side windows of its Fusion MMLV (Multi-Material Lightweight Vehicle) concept car. The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid also has a Gorilla Glass panel behind its engine compartment.
In a news release, Ford hinted at the technology's potential to trickle down into more mainstream vehicles: “Ford's use of the new hybrid glass underscores the company's aggressive foals for innovative engineering and light-weighting technologies that will one day benefit all Ford customers.”