When enthusiasts ogle the Ford GT’s strapping EcoBoost V6, they might not realize that they’re peering through an innovative new kind of hybrid glass that’s lighter and stronger than conventional materials.
The GT uses Gorilla Glass, the tough, damage-resistant material found on some smartphones and tablets, for the windshield and engine cover. Gorilla Glass works with a plastic adhesive interlayer and a soda lime glass outer layer to form a “hybrid” setup. Ford says this is 12 pounds lighter than traditional laminated glass. The configuration is 25 to 50 percent thinner than conventional panels and more than 30 percent lighter, yet still offers noise-absorbing capability.
These benefits make the Ford GT supercar a logical candidate to test the technology. “It’s a pretty significant advantage,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s group vice president of global purchasing. “Every single ounce of weight translates into a performance advantage.”
The Gorilla Glass panels were developed in tandem with Corning, a key Ford supplier, and the plans received the go-ahead within four months. Ford is considering using Gorilla Glass on other cars in the future.