Apple was granted a patent today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for methods to improve the strength of glass covers on electronic devices such as the iPhone.
Glass pane reinforced
The patent describes systems and methods for improving the strength of a thin glass cover for an electronic device. In one example, the glass can have improved strength by forming its edges with a predetermined geometry or by chemically strengthening the edges. The glass can not only be thin, but also sufficiently strong to limit the susceptibility to damage.
The invention relates generally to increasing the thickness of the glass. The toughened glass can be thin, yet strong enough to be suitable for use in electronic devices such as the iPhone and possibly new devices such as the Apple Watch.
Geometric strength and chemical treatments
By forming edges of a glass cover with a given geometry and chemically solidifying the glass cover, the stress near the edges of the glass cover can be reduced. As a result, the edges are less susceptible to uncontrolled tearing or breaking when subjected to significant abnormal forces, such as a fall event.
The patent describes examples of reshaping the edges that conform to a certain predetermined geometry and provide chemical strengthening can result in the compression near the edges of the glass cover being increased (while reducing the stress near the edges) ). The glass cover can be made stronger by imposing the predetermined geometry on the edges of the glass cover.
Even more examples describe how the edge geometry can give a smoothed corner, for example where a corner between two surfaces that are substantially perpendicular can be made less sharp. This can be achieved, for example, by moving one surface with one curve onto the other. For example, sharp edges such. B. corners, sharpened or smoothed to achieve a more steady transition from one surface to another.
It is not known how Apple intends to use the patent that it was granted because they already use Gorilla Glass in the iPhone and iPad. However, Apple may intend to improve its own screen knowledge, particularly with regard to potential sapphire screens in future products.
Apple credits Christopher Prest (San Francisco, CA) and Stephen Paul Zadesky (Portolla Valley, CA) as the inventor of U.S. Patent Application No. 8,937,690, which was first filed in September 2010.
Apple recently received several screen-related patents, including flexible electronic devices, a wrap-around display, and even a transparent display.