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Using the machines, the workers took turns bending, puncturing and scratching the glass, repeatedly emphasizing the point that Gorilla Glass -- unlike sapphire -- retains its strength even after being damaged. It may scratch, but it doesn't break easily. During my visit, I tried to break a thin piece of Gorilla Glass with a pencil-sized metal rod, putting most of my weight into the effort. My hand shook and reddened, but I couldn't make a dent in the glass. One worker used a machine to drop a metal ball on the glass from varying heights. Another dropped a dummy smartphone with its outer shell made almost entirely of glass onto a marble surface. I asked why Corning was using a nearly all-glass phone, and one worker explained that they like to test out new design concepts before handset makers come to them with the idea, so they can stay one step ahead of a fast-moving industry.

"Part of what we're doing is looking at the real details of iphone case gucci how things break in the field and then bringing that back into the laboratory to generate new tests," Reiman said, "so we can evaluate the damage resistance of glass better, so we can design better glass."When Apple was first developing the iPhone, it tested out plastic as the display screen, like with the iPod music player, but found that it scratched too much and lacked style, Soda-lime glass, which is used for windowpanes and bottles, wasn't strong enough, "We told them absolutely we can make a better glass," said Amin, an affable Brit who heads up Gorilla's technology development..

During an early meeting, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Corning CEO Wendell Weeks he wanted as much of the material as could be made within six months for the iPhone's first launch, according to Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs. Weeks responded that his company didn't have the capacity to complete the project. "Yes, you can do it," Jobs told him. "Get your mind around it. You can do it."An Apple representative didn't respond to a request for comment. Corning, which got its start making kerosene-lamp globes and colored signal lenses for railroad companies, used a hardened glass it developed in the 1960s as the basis for Gorilla Glass. That precursor material, called Chemcor, was marketed for car windshields and prison windows, though it failed to sell.

Decades later in the new market of mobile devices, Gorilla Glass became a hit, in large part because of Apple's endorsement, The material has been used in every iPhone, including the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as dozens of laptops, smartwatches and tablets from iphone case gucci Samsung, LG, Acer, Dell and Motorola, Gorilla gets its strength by a manufacturing process that replaces the glass' sodium ions with larger potassium ions, creating more compression at the material's surface, It's something like replacing tennis balls with softballs inside a frame, The effect is a more scratch- and damage-resistant glass, despite the fact that intrinsically glass isn't all that strong..

As of last year, Gorilla Glass held more than 80 percent of the hardened cover glass market it helped create, according to Bernstein Research. Japan-based Asahi Glass' 3-year-old Dragontrail is growing its market share but remains a distant competitor. Nippon Electric Glass of Japan, Schott of Germany and KMTC of China have introduced similar cover glasses though haven't gained much traction. Gorilla contributed just 15 percent of Corning's overall revenue last year, with the company's businesses spanning TV displays, fiber optics and research lab equipment. But, Gorilla Glass has been the leading growth driver for the company, as Corning works to expand the material's use for car windows and displays (one of Chemcor's original markets), elevator walls and kitchen backsplashes.

The company has dominated the market thanks, in part, to Gorilla Glass becoming one of Corning's most recognizable brands, It's now synonymous with tough glass -- a feature manufacturers use to market their mobile devices, Back at the testing lab, Reiman sat at his desk, where he provided a tutorial in his area of specialty -- fractography, or the study of fractured surfaces, He propped up a shard of glass using a piece of gray putty, placing it under a large microscope connected to a computer monitor, Looking at a magnified cross-section of the shard on the computer screen, he searched for the "fracture origin" -- the smoking gun that initiated the break, "I happen to think these are beautiful," he iphone case gucci said, pointing to a close-up of the glass shard..

He takes samples from devices sent by handset makers, pieces used in Corning's lab tests or busted phones brought by co-workers ("If we've got a phone in the family that's broken, we give it to Kevin," Amin said). Reiman then uses each break to learn more about the glass so he can try to make the next Gorilla Glass a little better. "It's like detective work, looking for clues, looking for evidence, piecing it together and putting the story together," Reiman said. "It's a lot like CSI, in a way, because you're letting the glass tell the story of how did it break."The reliability and testing team's work is part of Corning's broader research and development engine. The company spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year and employs about 1,700 scientists at its headquarters to better understand glass and other materials. It's all that R&D that has helped Gorilla Glass maintain its lead in the market, said Oppenheimer's Uerkwitz, who added that Corning's rivals spend far less in R&D each year to catch up to Corning's latest innovation.

Although Corning's executives say they see a strong future for its glass in mobile devices, some industry analysts predict that down the road more smartphone makers will use sapphire as display covers, A handful of niche phones already do, including the heavy-duty Kyocera Brigadier and Vertu Signature Touch, which iphone case gucci starts at $10,800, Apple also uses the material in newer iPhone models to cover the device's home button and back-camera lens, "I think sapphire will be adopted in high volume sooner or later," said Pierre Maccagno, an analyst at Dougherty & Co, who holds a Ph.D, in material science, The reason, says Maccagno: sapphire is a "superior" material to Gorilla..

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