The objective of this memorandum is to discuss Sapphire Glass a presentation for MTRL 392 Materials Engineering topic. The memo outlines the background, applications, challenges, and advantages associated with the sapphire glass. Sapphire Glass has proven to be an important issue for discussion due to its significance as it is gradually becoming part of our life. More so, it is a relevant topic in engineering mainly because of its excellent performance on a broad range of process considering its hardness, durability, and scratch-resistant make.
Sapphire glass is a synthetically produced crystal. Unlike its natural form, synthetically created sapphires are clear and colorless since it contains no impurities. Sapphire crystals are made from aluminum oxide powder (Dragic et al., 1012). After they are heated and cooled, the manufacturer later cuts them into glass-like layers as desired by the buyer.
2.2 Current Application
In many mechanical operations, Sapphire glass is mostly applied due to its strength, large size, chemical stability, and abrasion resistance (Dragic et al., 1012). For instance, sapphire glass is used as semiconductor wafer carriers, wear parts, bearings, blades, tubes and jewel bearings.
Smartphone now is a necessity in everyones life. Apple has been utilizing sapphire crystal in touch fingerprint sensor on home buttons and protective cover over the iPhone's camera sensor. Also, in the current engineering industry, it is very common in the making of watch display glasses. For example, two out of three versions of Apple new smart watches are made of sapphire glass screens.
2.3 Comparing Gorilla Glass vs. Sapphire Glass
Sapphire glass is the second only to diamond in hardness, making it more durable than Gorilla glass. Sapphire glass is better regarding hardness, strength, and toughness. Moreover, due to this hardness sapphire glass proves that it is harder to scratch. This is significant proof that the possibility of breaking is far much lesser than that of Gorilla glass. In actuality, sapphire glass fracture toughness is four times greater in comparison to Gorilla Glass(Dragic et al., 1012). However, Sapphire Glass costs roughly ten times more than Gorilla Glass. Considering that the process of producing Sapphire is quite challenging and slow. Therefore, the most difficult issue to sapphire glass manufacturing industries is on how to cut down the cost of production. Besides, Sapphire is heavier with up to 1.6 times more than Gorilla glass a disadvantage for companies that want to produce lighter devices.
2.4 Merits and Demerits
In the long term, sapphire glass is more environmentally friendly because its usage leads to fewer broken screens and therefore, less industrial waste (Dragic et al., 1012). More so, the Sapphire producing companies for instance Corning are reliable evidence that it is a toughened glass considering that they have been in business for over 1 centuries. But the manufacturing is energy costly, so it is another big challenge. Moreover, sapphire is said to transmit lesser light meaning that devices made from it are either dimmer or have a shorter battery life.
Sapphire glass is capable of withstanding extreme environmental conditions and fluctuations in temperature. This material has enormous commercial value. The remaining challenges are high manufacturing cost, heaviness, and competitions from similar products. Nonetheless, with technological evolutions being evidenced in engineering Sapphire Glass is still the second most preferred engineering material due to the high impacts it has in this sector. Pointedly, the next generation of laser-based applications such as radiotherapy and infrared spectroscopy are consistently adopting sapphire glass because of its excellent beam quality and control.
Dragic, P., Hawkins, T., Foy, P., Morris, S., & Ballato, J. (2012). Sapphire-derived all glass optical fibres. Nature Photonics, 6(9), 627-633. (Dragic et al., 1012)
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