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Far from Apple's slick, high-wattage product launch events in California, the iPhone's display glass is developed in an unassuming, blue and gray building on a quiet country road across from an unkempt cornfield. The low-standing structure in Painted Post, N.Y., houses the Gorilla Glass reliability and testing labs, where a team of engineers spends much of their day dropping, bending, shattering and scratching the material. "We primarily break glass. It's our job," said a smiling Jon Pesansky, who runs the labs.

Much of the space is off limits to other Corning personnel, since it's used to test experimental recipes of Gorilla Glass and to collaborate iphone x screen protector 3d with smartphone makers on prototype devices, Visitors are usually required to sign a confidentiality agreement when entering and I was told not to take wide photographs of the labs, so Corning's competitors couldn't ascertain the size of the space, The group visiting included me and a team from electronics repair chain uBreakiFix, We put on safety glasses, walked into a restricted corridor and soon entered one of the main labs, which -- despite all the secretiveness -- looks a lot like shop class, There were large testing machines set in stations along bare white walls, with a handful of researchers there to present their torture devices..

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 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 iphone x screen protector 3d 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 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, iphone x screen protector 3d 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 iphone x screen protector 3d 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 said, pointing to a close-up of the glass shard..