While browsing our website, you might have noticed a few products made of sapphire, such as our Sapphire Windows for Mobile Phones or our Sapphire Tubes used for UV sterilization laps. Sure, when most people think of sapphire they imagine a blueish-colored gem embedded in a piece of jewelry. However, Sapphire is used pretty often in production of very different things, such as Windows for High-quality Watches. So most people see it frequently or even wear it on their wrist without ever realizing it.
What is sapphire glass exactly? In nature it appears as the blue-colored stone that most of us are familiar with. It can also be produced artificially. This artificial variation is widely used in various industries as a tough and see-through material. This means that sapphire glass is not really glass at all. When talking about synthetic sapphire glass, people are actually referring to pure aluminum oxide, crystallized at extremely high temperatures.
But what is so special about sapphire glass? First of all, the almost complete transparency of the material is a huge advantage. Light of various wavelengths from ultraviolet to almost infrared is able to pass through it. Of course, this includes all the wavelengths visible to the human eye, making sapphire glass a perfect material for electronics screens and covers. On top of that, given the wide range of wavelengths passing through it, this kind of glass can be used in sterilization lamps.
How strong is sapphire glass? Well, pretty strong. To put it simply, it is about ten time stronger than stainless steel. The heat resistance, as well as chemical resistance of the material are also nothing short of remarkable.
Is sapphire glass scratch-resistant? Another important quality of sapphire glass is the high level of resistance to scratches. That is why you can often find it used as the material for windows of barcode scanners. That surface comes in contact with a lot of different items every day and, at the same time, cannot afford to get any scratches whatsoever. This is also a part of the reason why sapphire glass is used for high-quality watch windows and cell phone screens.
To put the level of scratch resistance in more exact terms we can use the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. While diamond is rated 10 on this scale (highest possible rating), sapphire crystal is rated 9. Based on this quality, watches with windows made of sapphire glass are often labeled as “scratch resistant”.
Why is sapphire glass not the standard for every smartphone or watch? As you can probably tell by now, sapphire glass is the ideal choice for screens of consumer electronics and watches. However, as we have mentioned, sapphire glass is a very tough material. Besides making it really useful, it also means that it is extremely hard to work with. This generally makes it about 10 times more expensive than Gorilla Glass, which is the standard for smartphone screens. Here at ARD-OPTICS we pride ourselves on having some of the most advanced and precise equipment, as well as the specialists with years of experience, allowing us to work with sapphire glass.