Chemical Strengthening of Glass: Lessons Learned and Yet To Be Learned


  • Arun K. Varshneya

    Corresponding author
    1. Saxon Glass Technologies Inc., Alfred, New York
      NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York 14802
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© 2010 Saxon Glass Technologies Inc.


This paper reviews the progress that has been made in our understanding of the chemical strengthening of glass by ion exchange over its nearly five decades of history. Lessons learned are briefly discussed; more importantly, those which are yet to be learned are highlighted. It is recognized that, except for detailed compositional effects, the kinetics of ion interdiffusion process and the chemical strengthening technology are reasonably well understood. However, the science of stress generation and its concurrent relaxation is far from being clear despite the elegant analogy to thermal stresses invoked by Cooper. The need to understand plasticity of glass network during accommodation of a larger invading ion is emphasized. In turn, the influence of network topology on its yield strength in shear as well as hydrostatic modes is recognized. For expanded applications under extreme conditions of loading, damage evolution in chemically strengthened glass needs to be studied. Such a study is linked to our understanding of the terms “strength,”“hardness,”“toughness,” and “brittleness” of glass.