DETROIT - So here's a question that may be painful to answer, "Have you ever broken the screen on your phone?" The answer is likely yes. If you have, then you've probably heard of Gorilla Glass.
Gorilla Glass is a thin, clear layer of material that goes over your phone screen and keeps it from cracking. It's pretty amazing what the coating can do. That's why the makers of the phone protector partnered with Ford. They want to offer that same protection for your windshield.
If you're ever caught in a hail storm, short of getting into a garage, there's nothing you can do to protect your windshield. But that won't be the case for long.
At the Detroit Auto Show, Ford and Corning gave us a sneak peek at what's coming. Gorilla Glass for your car. They put a ball of ice into a high pressured rocket and fired at 55 miles per hour. The result? The glass was untouched. Literally, not a scratch
They did the same test with materials from the average windshield. The result? It shattered. The difference is because inside the piece that didn't shatter is a combination of Gorilla Glass and soda lime.
Paul Linden with Ford said, "We call it the Gorilla Glass hybrid package and we do a sandwich that has the Gorilla Glass, an inter-layer and then the soda lime. The soda lime acts as the skin, absorbing the impacts."
The gorilla glass provides the spine and strength and at a fraction of the thickness and weight of your regular windshield. Ford is the first to test the glass in its brand new GT. It found the shatter resistance is only one of the pluses.
"In the case of the Ford GT, it reduced the weight by 11 pounds. On a conventional vehicle like an Explorer, it would reduce the weight by 30 pounds," Linden said.
Less weight in all of the windows and windshield means a much more stable vehicle.
Linden explained, "It stops faster, it accelerates faster, it's got better fuel economy. Everything is good."
Ford hopes to have this hybrid material in all of its vehicles someday. The problem is that since it weighs less, the vehicles have to be redesigned to fit the glass. The GT is the prototype since it was the first, new vehicle in Ford's lineup. It won't be the last.
"As we go through our cycle plan and new models come up, we are actively investigating can we make this Gorilla Glass our plan," Linden told us. "We believe it has a better solution for the customer."
Ford crash tested several test vehicles with this new glass. We are talking direct impact at high speeds, roll-overs and more. They tell us they did everything possible to those vehicles and the Gorilla Glass survived.
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