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Here's what happens when your screen shatters

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Here's what happens when your screen shatters
The smartphone you have in your pocket is an amazing tool - it not only has some of the latest hardware ready to roar, but also one of the toughest glass on the planet. Yes, we’re talking about Gorilla Glass 2, the 0.8mm thick layer of glass that covers your display, and is estimated to be 30 times harder to scratch than plastic.

How tough is Gorilla Glass exactly? In technical terms, it can withstand 100,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, or in plain English a 1.18-pound iron ball dropped on it from a distance of six feet. To make it that rugged, folks at Corning bathe it in a 400-degree Celsius bath of molten salt. This replaces the small sodium ions on top of the glass with larger, tougher potassium ions. For its flexibility, cold air is then blown throughout the top of the glass that makes it tougher, while the inside remains softer.

As much as we lavish praise on the tough Gorilla Glass 2, though, it’s not indestructible. A piece of practical knowledge is to never drop your phone - even if the screen doesn’t shatter, invisible damage accumulates.

Strength is the relationship between the surface compression and inner tension; it determines, among other things, how many blows a piece of glass can endure before it shatters completely. Glass only breaks in tension, when the force of impact finally overcomes the surface compression. A scratch doesn't shatter glass, but small stresses will eventually lead to a colossal splintering. 

Most importantly, if a phone falls flat, that damage will be spread across the whole screen, so there’s more chance for the glass not to break. If it falls on a side, though, all of that damage concentrates in a particular area, so it’s more prone to shattering. Nice to know, and also make sure to check out the source below for more details and a couple of animated GIFs you can play with.

source: BuzzFeed

12 Comments
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posted on 21 Aug 2012, 03:37 12

1. tab62 (Posts: 3; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Then why does the Samsung Galaxy S3 screen shatter on impact?

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 03:50 11

2. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


i want this question to be answered too. anyone?

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 04:10 3

5. wendygarett (unregistered)


Because it's 8mm thick while lumia 900 is 11mm thick

Different thickness of the gorilla glass I think

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 04:24 8

7. Cyan3boN (Posts: 425; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


because its just soda glass, Samsung cheated us

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 03:51 5

3. OpTiMuS_BlAcK (Posts: 411; Member since: 04 May 2012)


Like I've said in the past, I would still prefer the older and thicker Gorilla Glass than the new, thinner one. I don't think GG2 has proven itself better than GG1.

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 03:55 1

4. Tobruk (Posts: 8; Member since: 14 May 2011)


Then why did the screen dent on my HTC One X, when the backside of my my plastic earbuds hit the screen?

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 06:41

9. bbblader (Posts: 575; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


strengthened soda glass?

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 04:15 2

6. Levon (Posts: 33; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


everything is perfect in advertisements)))

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 04:45 1

8. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


they can publish even 100+ tests and pdfs how gorilla glass 2 is stronger, better, etc....
reality has showed the naked truth recently (**S III, apple)

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 07:47 1

10. jeffronc (Posts: 17; Member since: 15 Jun 2012)


My GS3 cracked when I dropped it 12 inches onto concrete. It landed on the top left corner and the top right corner got two cracks over an inch and a half from the front camera to below the power button. No warranty will replace it. This Gorilla Glass is a joke.

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 09:20 2

11. 90ninjas (Posts: 89; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


All of these tests are impact tests where the glass is not situated on something... Once the glass is locked down in place, force from the impact has to go somewhere, and without any room to flex the glass will shatter.

posted on 21 Aug 2012, 10:22

12. JGuinan007 (Posts: 631; Member since: 19 May 2011)


THe SG3 should have had some sort of gasget around the GG2 to allow some flex so it wouldn't break so easily.

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