Walter Issacson’s biography of Tesla boss Elon Musk is far within the information currently, however a element on the 2024 Jeep Wrangler Willys 4xe I’m check driving jogged my memory of Issacson’s earlier profile of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Within the backside nook of the Jeep’s windshield is the brand for the Wrangler’s break-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass windshield. Corning invented Gorilla Glass within the Sixties however had by no means discovered a industrial software for the expertise when Jobs chosen it for the unique iPhone’s show.
In my favourite anecdote within the ebook, Jobs, looking for the fitting materials for iPhone screens, makes an attempt to elucidate glassmaking to Corning president and CEO Wendell Weeks. “Are you able to shut up and let me educate you some science?” Weeks stated, in line with Issacson’s account.
Weeks’ clarification of Corning’s chemical trade course of led Jobs to position an enormous order for a product that might have languished on Corning’s shelf in any other case. With Gorilla Glass in manufacturing, Corning pursued different markets, discovering automotive prospects in Jeep, Ford, McLaren, and Porsche.
Jeep began providing Gorilla Glass as an possibility for the Wrangler and Gladiator in 2021 and in 2023 it’s normal tools on all however the base mannequin Wrangler Sport. The principle profit to Wrangler drivers is the windshield’s affect resistance, which Jeep says is triple that of standard automotive glass.
Jeep examined the marketplace for factory-installed Gorilla glass by first providing it via Chrysler’s Mopar components division as a substitute half. Mopar even provides the Gorilla Glass windshields as substitute components for Wranglers going way back to 2007.
“Its mixture of an ultra-thin Gorilla Glass interior ply with a 52 % thicker outer ply makes this windshield light-weight and sturdy, providing superior resistance to chips, cracks, and fractures from stones and off-road particles that hard-core Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator house owners are more likely to encounter,” Jeep explains.
Whereas we did expertise some tropical storm climate, I wasn’t capable of put the Gorilla Glass windshield to the check with hail or gravel throughout my time with the Wrangler. However Jeep believes in it sufficient to supply a two-year substitute guarantee for breakage.
Corning explains its ion-exchange course of that creates Gorilla Glass:
Ion trade is a chemical strengthening course of the place massive ions are “stuffed” into the glass floor, making a state of compression. Gorilla Glass is specifically designed to maximise this habits. The glass is positioned in a shower of molten salt at a temperature of roughly 400 levels C. Smaller sodium ions depart the glass, and bigger potassium ions from the salt tub exchange them. These massive ions take up extra room and are pressed collectively when the glass cools, producing a layer of compressive stress on the floor of the glass. Gorilla Glass’ composition allows the potassium ions to diffuse far into the floor, creating excessive compressive stress deep into the glass. This layer of compression creates a floor that’s extra resistant to break.
Different vehicles, like McLaren’s sports activities vehicles, the Ford GT, and Porsche 911 GT2 and GT3 fashions profit from the truth that Gorilla Glass is thinning and lighter than typical glass, which aids their efficiency and lowers the vehicles’ facilities of gravity.
The bottom value for my check Wrangler Willys 4xe is $51,790, together with vacation spot, and with all of its non-obligatory tools, prices $60,515. That’s much more than a Gorilla Glass-equipped iPhone, however it is just a fraction the value of any of the unique sports activities vehicles utilizing it for his or her windshields. It will be acceptable if Apple’s automobile makes use of a Gorilla Glass windshield.