Product Analysis & Improvement

Clear as Glass: Understanding Strength and Fracture

glass building

Supporting the future of consumer electronics

Despite noteworthy characteristics such as hardness, transparency, and resistance to heat and pressure, the fragility of glass has not made it a traditionally favored structural material for portable electronic devices — especially those prone to everyday accidents. The trend towards thinner, lighter, and more flexible devices makes this a bigger challenge every year.

The Challenge 

Even one surface scratch on a piece of glass can potentially reduce its resistance to fracture. Exponent's decades of work to understand why and how glass breaks (in dropped phones, auto accidents, and even broken bottles) has given us insights that we've been translating into advances for our clients across numerous product design engagements.

Exponent's MULTIDISCIPLINARY Solution 

In real products, glass components are just one part of a greater whole. That's why understanding how well the glass is incorporated into the product through bonding of adhesives and potential interaction with housing components is crucial to a successful design. Our interdisciplinary teams can put all of the pieces together in a holistic assessment of the product's performance.

When you want to challenge conventional thinking — Exponent can help you break through dogmatic engineering barriers, building on 50+ years of understanding why things go wrong to help you innovate right.

Exponent's Impact 

Exponent has transformed conventional engineering wisdom on how glass can be used in consumer products and electronics — by making it stronger even as it has become thinner and lighter. The result is that, today, most modern electronics have real glass as their interface. Exponent helps numerous industries reimagine what's possible when it comes to technology and consumer products by methodically creating analytical frameworks that allow our scientists and engineers to innovate materials and processes — concurrently keeping safety, health, and sustainability as top-line goals.