In an industry first, Ford and Corning have integrated a lightweight hybrid windshield technology to improve performance and handling without compromising safety. The three-piece safety glass incorporates Corning's existing Gorilla Glass – more commonly associated with mobile device screens – and will be featured in the Ford GT supercar.
The second-generation version of the Ford GT debuted at the North American International Auto Show this January. Since its unveiling, it has gained a lot of attention from automotive enthusiasts as the latest and greatest supercar to emerge from Detroit.
The Gorilla Glass composite was developed to meet all safety requirements, and at the same time shed a lot of weight in order to help improve performance and handling in the GT. The glass replaces a traditional multi-paned windscreen with a three-layer structure known as a "hybrid window," consisting of a pane of toughened automotive glass, a noise-absorbing thermoplastic interlayer, and an annealed glass outer layer. This provides a weight savings of about 30 percent over traditional annealed glass sandwiches.
In the case of the Ford GT, replacing the windshield and rear engine cover glass with Gorilla Glass means about 12 lb (5.5 kg) of weight shaved from the vehicle. This weight is both taken from the vehicle's total weight, and is removed from the area over the car's center of gravity. That weight loss means better acceleration, and the lowered center of gravity means better handling.
The new glass was developed by Ford and Corning and is based on Corning's Gorilla Glass for electronic devices, introduced in 2007.
The Corning Gorilla Glass for automotive use is between 25 and 50 percent thinner, depending on application, than traditional automotive glass. It has equal or greater strength, and similar impact properties. Traditional automotive glass ranges from four to six millimeters in thickness, whereas Gorilla Glass ranges from three to four.
Ford conducted testing on the new glass that included stone impacts, jolting driving conditions, and specific projectile and wind tunnel tests for weather and temperature changes. The automaker says that the glass may eventually make its way to other vehicles in the Ford lineup.