Ford’s GT supercar will debut in 2017 with Gorilla Glass, an innovative new kind of hybrid glass that’s lighter and stronger than conventional materials. The super tough, scratch-resistant glass found on smartphones will be used on the windshield, engine cover and bulkhead glass on Ford GT.
Ford says Gorilla Glass is 12 pounds lighter than traditional laminated glass, 25 to 50 percent thinner than conventional panels that translates to more than 30 percent lighter, yet still offers noise-absorbing capability. Glass on the GT weighs only 46 pounds, shaving off 12 pounds. Gorilla Glass hybrid window ranges from three millimeters to four millimeters. This remarkable reduction in thickness greatly reduces the weight of each panel.
“Every single ounce of weight translates into a performance advantage,” says Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s group vice president of global purchasing.
The reduced weight positively impacts acceleration, fuel economy and braking performance. It also lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity.
Gorilla Glass is Reinventing Auto Glass First Pioneered By Henry Ford
A traditional automotive laminated windshield— originally introduced in America by Henry Ford nearly a century ago—consists of two layers of annealed glass sandwiched around a clear, thermoplastic interlayer binding agent. The new hybrid glass uses a multilayer approach – a pane of toughened automotive-grade formed hybrid acts as the strengthened inner layer, an advanced noise-absorbing thermoplastic interlayer is in the center, and an annealed glass serves as the outer layer.
The glass seems like a good match for the car, which also uses lightweight and strong carbon fiber for its chassis, bodywork, wheels and brakes in an effort to deliver world-class performance.
“Gorilla Glass hybrid is a great example of how Ford works with suppliers to innovate in every area of our business,” said Hau Thai-Tang. Corning, makers of Gorilla Glass, is a key Ford supplier.
Gorilla Glass is a tough, durable, scratch-resistant window. To demonstrate its strength, Ford engineers loaded a cannon with a 1.75-inch hail ball and fired it at 55 miles per hour into a piece of Gorilla Glass. It did not shatter like a piece of conventional glass.
The glass is so strong it will not shatter as easily in a crash and it should make it harder to break into a vehicle because the glass won’t break. Emergency responders can still free crash victims with powered extraction tools.
For now, Ford leads in auto glass technology, but Ford’s Hau Thai-Tang said he knows Ford will not retain the exclusive advantage for long. Ford is exploring other applications for this great new technology.