The difference between gorilla glass vs. tempered glass can be seen in their hardness and other properties such as materials composition. Based on these differences, the two types of glasses also fit different applications, as you will learn in this comparison guide. Let’s dive right in, starting with the definition of both gorilla glass and tempered glass.
What is Gorilla Glass?
Gorilla glass is a type of thin but tough glass that has been strengthened in a chemical process called ion exchange. Scratch and break resistant, it’s commonly used for mobile device screens, architectural structures, and automotive windshields. For a more detailed explanation, check out our other article on “what is gorilla glass”.
What is Tempered Glass?
Tempered glass is used to refer to the type of tough glass that’s strengthened using heat. Tempered Glass is also hard to break and used in a range of applications that include the doors and windows of buildings and other structures, tabletops, and other surfaces.
Gorilla Glass vs. Tempered Glass
With both glasses being toughened to resist damage, many people find it difficult to distinguish between gorilla glass vs. tempered glass. To make the difference clear, this comparison section will compare the two glasses in terms of:
- Material composition
- Manufacturing method
- Impact resistance
- Scratch resistance
While both are strengthened types of glasses, gorilla glass and tempered glass differ in terms of base material and the types of additives. Gorilla glass is made using alkali-aluminosilicate, while tempered glass is just regular silicon dioxide (silica) glass that’s been toughened using heat.
In terms of materials, the gorilla glass composition is mainly silicon, aluminum, sodium, and magnesium. On the other hand, the glass that’s used to produce tempered glass is composed of silicon dioxide and various oxides, the choice of which depends on the required properties.
Gorilla glass is chemically strengthened. In contrast, tempered glass is toughened using heat. The gorilla glass manufacturing process involves bathing alkali-aluminosilicate glass in melted potassium salt and at temperatures reaching 400 degrees Celsius.
During the process, sodium ions migrate from the glass and their positions are taken by potassium ions from the salt bath. In comparison, tempered glass is made by heating normal glass to around 600°C and then rapidly cooling its surface.
When compared for impact force resistance using glasses of similar thickness, gorilla glass takes the superior position. This type of glass is normally made for situations that involve damage by dropping, and made to resist damage by impact from forces that are as high as up to 100, 000 PSI.
However, most types of tempered glass are meant for higher impact forces than the applications that gorilla glass products are subjected to. When used in these situations, the tempered glass is usually thick enough to withstand extreme forces.
When it comes to resisting scratch, gorilla glass offers a higher level of hardness, seeing that it’s specifically made to protect the screens of various products. That’s one of the reasons that the coins or keys inside your pocket are unlikely damage the screen of a gorilla glass mobile phone, for example.
But while the hardness of gorilla glass mainly makes it scratch resistant and explains its use as the material covering electronic touchscreens and smartphone camera lens covers, it’s important to note that both glasses show excellent scratch resistance, which is one of their advantages over ordinary glass. It’s only that the gorilla glass scratch resistance is more refined, most owing to its specific uses.
The process of manufacturing gorilla glass allows for thin pieces of the material to be made, all without affecting its application targets. So gorilla glass sheets are generally thinner than those of tempered glass.
Tempered glass is normally thicker, even when used to protect tablets and smartphones. When used on mobile devices, it’s usually an add-on protector compared to the factory-installed mobile phone gorilla glass.
Despite both tempered glass and gorilla glass being designed to protect by resisting damage, their applications vary. Thin and lightweight, gorilla glass material is mostly designed for use on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and the display of televisions. So it’s mostly thin and lightweight.
Tempered glass on the other hand, is made for use where safety protection is paramount. So it’s designed thick and difficult to break. Its applications, therefore, include shower walls, architectural glass doors and windows, and so on.
Tempered Glass or Gorilla Glass?
It depends. As we have seen in the above tempered vs. gorilla glass comparison, the two types of glasses are manufactured differently using different materials. As such, their properties and performance characteristics will usually differ.
- If your primary concern is to shield the display of an electronic device from drops or against being scratched by hard objects, gorilla glass protector is your preferred choice. It’s thin, lightweight, and offers excellent optical properties.
- For applications that are likely to involve larger impact forces such as the doors of buildings, tempered glass is a better choice. It’s thicker and more resistant to breakage, in addition to breaking safely into rounded pieces.
Ultimately the choice of whether to use tempered glass or gorilla glass depends on the usage needs or application settings. Because, while both glasses are designed to be tough and withstand abuse, their specific characteristics differ in many ways.
Tempered and gorilla glass differ in many ways, from their properties and how they hold up to damage to their specific applications. When comparing the two, therefore, it’s important that one is aware of these differences, as has been outlined in this article; because, as we have seen, their different characteristics dictate the best applications of each.