September 22, 2021
Folding glass: how, why and the truth about the Samsung Z Flip

Folding glass: how, why and the truth about the Samsung Z Flip

On February eleventh, 2020, Samsung launched the world’s first folding glass cellphone: the Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung declared that it had damaged the legal guidelines of physics by bending glass, particularly by making “a leap from polymer screens to ultra-thin glass know-how.”

Samsung made it sound prefer it had invented a brand new proprietary type of glass, and the corporate even dubbed it Samsung Extremely Skinny Glass (UTG). “We’ve finished the unimaginable and created extremely skinny glass that folds,” the corporate’s presentation claimed, including that it “protects your display from scratches.”


Glass consultants may have warned you about what occurred subsequent, when it turned out that Samsung’s supposed “leap” does use polymer and is straightforward to scratch in any case. Samsung’s dust-resistant “fiber protect” instantly went on to fail an aggressive mud check, and the corporate’s claims round glass have now retreated to the ridiculous tagline “powerful, but tender.”

However Samsung didn’t lie concerning the major innovation right here: the Galaxy Z Flip is really a folding glass cellphone. It’s simply that cup is definitely made by German producer Schott, it’s bought a delicate, scratchable plastic layer up high, and — hopefully — future folding glass telephones gained’t require that further safety.

To grasp why, it is best to in all probability first perceive how glass can fold in any respect.


Versatile glass is actual

If I’m being sincere, I’m nonetheless wrapping my head round it myself. Glass is fragile; even for those who’ve one way or the other by no means damaged glass your self, you undoubtedly know the way it sounds when it shatters. It’s powerful to even think about how such a brittle materials might be changed into a bendable flip cellphone, which is why I’m not stunned when Samsung discovered itself going through accusations that the Galaxy Z Flip’s ultra-thin glass won’t be glass in any respect.

And but the physics of folding glass is remarkably easy, based on two materials scientists, in addition to representatives from Gorilla Glass maker Corning and Schott itself. The brief model: virtually something could be bent for those who make it skinny sufficient.

“All of the supplies we all know of which can be very inflexible could be bent to some extent,” says Schott’s Dr. Mathias Mydlak, a chemist who now leads enterprise improvement for the corporate’s ultra-thin glass. “If you happen to consider wooden, a 2×4 can’t be bent, however for those who chisel a really advantageous piece of it […] the identical is true for glass,” he informed me late final 12 months. Whereas a traditional windowpane won’t appear to bend earlier than breaking, a skinny sufficient ribbon of glass truly can.

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