Find out more about SCHOTT's Heatan™ technology: enabling reliable data transmission in high-temperature applications.
The display screen, the GPS touchscreen and the panoramic sunroof all have one thing in common – they are made of glass. But when it comes to building cars, glass isn’t only important in the obvious areas, but also where most would probably least expect it: ‘under the hood.’ lt helps regulate the engine’s fuel injection pump, monitor tire pressure and activate ABS and the airbag at the right time. After all, the acceleration and pressure sensors controlling these processes, so-called MEMS sensors (micro-electro-mechanical systems), are made from silicon and glass. A type of glass needs to be used that can withstand the extreme temperature fluctuations and mechanical stress in the engine compartment: BOROFLOAT®.
This special float glass by SCHOTT is not only extremely durable, but also has an expansion coefficient matched for the semiconductor to ensure that the sensor is also reliable in extreme heat or cold. A piece of glass just a few millimeters in size is more suited as a basis for these high tech systems than any other material and that’s just the beginning.
In autonomous cars of the future, glass will help guarantee higher safety. Is the road ahead clear? Is a pedestrian crossing the street? How far away is the next car in front? Lidar (light detection and ranging) systems continuously scan the surroundings at 360 degrees to answer these questions, putting high demands on the glass being used. The extreme optical purity, high durability and permeability of infrared rays makes BOROFLOAT® predestined for these types of systems. “Glass is the perfect material whenever shape accuracy, compatibility with semiconductors and high transparency are key,” says Ulrich Schuster, CEO at Schröder Spezialglas in Ellerau near Hamburg, Germany. His company cuts, bores, mills, bends and shapes high precision technical glass for virtually any conceivable application. That’s where The revolution, according to the expert Ulrich Schuster, is already underway: “Glass will replace plastic more and more.”