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Samsung Galaxy S5 Hammer Smash Fail


Why do people make videos like this? And come to the conclusions to which they come in them, or in their captions/headlines? [shakes head in disbelief]

It is positively *NOT* a "fail," for godsake! Gorilla Glass is very tough, but it's still just glass. Granted, it's very special glass, made using a process called "ion exchange," which results in the glass being generally stronger for its weight and thickness than regular glass -- even tempered glass -- and the process also causes one side of the glass (the surface, facing out, that one's finger touches on a smartphone) to have inordinate scratch resistance. Here's how it's made, and why it's different; from the Corning Glass website:

Ion exchange is a chemical strengthening process where large ions are “stuffed” into the glass surface, creating a state of compression. Gorilla Glass is specially designed to maximize this behavior. The glass is placed in a hot bath of molten salt at a temperature of approximately 400°C. Smaller sodium ions leave the glass, and larger potassium ions from the salt bath replace them. These larger ions take up more room and are pressed together when the glass cools, producing a layer of compressive stress on the surface of the glass. Gorilla Glass’s special composition enables the potassium ions to diffuse far into the surface, creating high compressive stress deep into the glass. This layer of compression creates a surface that is more resistant to damage from everyday use; and a a deep layer of high compressive stress. This compression acts as a sort of “armor,” making the glass exceptionally tough and damage resistant.

While that really and truly does make for a superior quality of glass that really is highly -- and I mean highly -- resistant to both scratches and breakage, Gorilla Glass is still just glass; and so it can and will break. It's not indestructable; and it is just folly for anyone to be surprised when it does break, as I so often see in forum postings which characterize Gorilla Glass as "junk" or worse...

...sorta' like what's insensibly happening here. Get a clue, fortheloveofgod!

When Corning says its product is scratch resistant, it's not kidding around. Gorilla glass has a Vickers hardness test rating of around 670; and so that means that it takes something with a Mohs scale of mineral hardness rating of around 7 or higher to scratch it. Trust me, that's hard!

To give a Mohs hardness rating of 7 some perspective, using everyday things: the graphite in a typical pencil "lead" has a Mohs hardness of 1.5; a fingernail, 2.2 to 2.5; a copper penny, 3.2 to 3.5; a pocketknife 5.1; a plate glass window, 5.5; and a steel file, 6.5

The knife in the video has a Mohs hardness of maybe 5-point-something; and so it should surprise no one that the videomaker's scratching the phone's Gorilla Glass produced not even one scratch...

...just as it should surprise no one that sawing on the Mohs hardness 2-point-something plastic back of the phone with said knife, or slamming its Mohs hardness 5-point-something blade edge against the Mohs hardness 3-point-something frame, made marks. Again, why does that surprise anyone? What does anyone expect?

As to the hammer, let's be clear about something: That's a four (4) pound -- so we're talking 64 whopping ounces -- hardened-steel sledge hammer. A normal household claw hammer of the type used by carpenters to build houses is only from 14 to 18 ounces. When that whopping four pound sledge hammer was simply dropped on the Gorilla Glas from only around two inches, several hundred pounds-per-square-inch of impact pressure was exerted on that glass... enough to knock a human a little loopy had the same thing been done to his/her skull...

...all without a single scratch... and TWICE, to boot Then when he started to actually use some force, many THOUSANDS of pounds-per-square-inch of impact pressure -- enough to *KILL* a human, were it done to his/her skull -- were exerted on the Gorilla Glass...

...and it continued to withstand it until the videomaker finally increased the impact pressure beyond anything most phones would ever encounter, even in a car accident! And so, of course, the glass finally broke...

...yet notice the videomaker made no fair-minded mention of how remarkable it was that said glass didn't break -- or even scratch -- until that point.

None of those things are an indication of an inherently sub-standard phone design, or said design's failure. Further down, herein, I will give you an example of a truly sub-standard phone design, so you can see the difference. Keep reading...

Recall that it takes something with a Mohs hardness of 7 to even scratch Gorilla Glass. Even a file, recall, isn't that hard. It takes, in fact, an unglazed porcelain streak plate to finally reach a hardness of 7.0 on the Mohs scale. Things which have a Mohs scale hardness of 7 or higher include quartz, topaz and diamonds; and remember that the only thing capable of scratching a diamond is another diamond!

But here's the thing: Many more things than you realize in your everyday life are that hard... even things in your pocket, sometimes. For example, many kinds of simple sand contain quartz, and so can easily scratch Gorilla glass; and most everyone gets sand in his/her pocket or purse now and then. That's why I always recommend the use of a "Realook" brand (or equivalent; the problem is, Realook is best-of-breed, so there are few equivalents) screen protector on all smartphones, no matter what. Even Gorilla Glass needs protection from such as sand.

Diamond sandpaper -- and four-pound sledgehammers, obviously... though clearly only with effort -- can downright destroy Gorilla Glass. Again, why does that surprise anyone? Or cause anyone to think that that's a "fail." Be reasonable!

Additionally, whenever you get anywhere near the edge of glass -- even Gorilla Glass -- a whole lot less can destroy it. Glass is funny that way, and should never be overestimated. For example, a tempered glass shower door will flex; and if you happen to slip in the bathroom and fall against one, it will likely bend, but not break. That's why it's callled "safety" glass. Yet, if you pry the metal edge protectors off the shower door, and simply nick the door's (likely polished, for safety) edge with a mere two-dollar flat-blade screwdriver -- or even somethiing like that knife, in the video -- said shower door will literally explode into thousands of pieces all over the bathroom floor. Glass, again, is funny; and should not, again, be overestimated.

But that property of glass -- its ability to break from even only a tiny nick on its edge, no matter how otherwise strong is said glass -- brings us to an example of the truly awful phone design that I earlier herein promised: The Samsung Galaxy S-III.

The S-III also has Gorilla Glass, yet virtually no S-III can withstand a drop to a hard concrete floor from virtually anything higher than around knee-height without its Gorilla Glass breaking. Most other Samsung phones -- including and especially the new S5 -- can be tossed a few feet into the air above one's head to the concrete floor and their glass will not break most of the time (unless the phone happens to land in just the right way, on just the right part of the phone's edge). But not the S-III: it's glass breaks nearly every single time, no matter how it lands, even from low-height drops.

And the reason why has to do with the same thing described three paragraphs up: the inability of virtually any kind of glass, no matter its other properties of strenghth and/or scratch resistance, to withstand edge impact, or even a tiny edge nick.

The S-III's design flaw was never its glass. Rather, it was its frame around its glass; the frame of the phone, itself. Said frame, on the S-III, is virtually non-existent; provides almost no impact protection at all. And so whatever impact the S-III encounters is immediately transferred from its good-for-nothing frame edge straight to the edge of the glass; and so it always (or at least nearly always) breaks from virtually any kind of fall.

It's worthy of note, then, that the frame edge of the S5, with which the videomaker found such fault merely because it can be scratched with a knife, is intentionally made that way, and of that material, of said material's hardness, specifically to absorb and redirect/distribute impact out and around to the rest of the phone's frame rather than to its glass.

So, I ask the videomaker which he would rather have: a phone with a Mohs 3-point-something hardness frame that can be easily marred with the Mohs 5-point-something hardness knife blade, but which is the hardness that it is precisely so it can protect the glass from impact shatter? Or one that is harder and will hold-up better to the knife blade, but which transfers real impact straight to the glass's edge and causes it to break every single time, like the S-III's good-for-nothing frame?

Hmm? Which?

Everything's a trade-off in life, as the videomaker would know if he had ever bothered to take an introductory physics class in high school. From said class, he would have also learned that one cannot directly hit (and he did, indeed, do that; look closely at the video) a Lithium-Ion battery with several thousand pounds-per-square-inch of impact pressure from a four-pound hardened steel sledge hammer, and not expect it to leak or explode. Again, look closely at the video: the battery did not spring a leak (it did not, let's be clear, here, actually "explode"; it only sprung a leak) because of any impact of the hammer with the phone; the phone did not fail in that way. Only when the (by this time palpably stupid) videomaker actually finally hit the battery, itself, directly with the hammer, after it had come out of the phone, did it finally spring a leak...

...and if the gasses in it didn't quite probably damage his lungs, I'd say that it was good enough for him. But I wouldn't wish such a thing even on an enemy; so I hope his lungs are okay. If they're not, though (and it may be decades before he learns if any real damage was done), then he has only himself to blame; and he will have this video at which he will be able to point back when he's old, and has emphysema, and he's explaining to his grandchildren when and how it happened.

To call, in any case, any part of what we see in that video -- other than the videomaker's judgement -- a "fail" is ludicrous. Shame on anyone so embarrassingly stupid.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com

Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

I guess you missed the point the "FAIL" was the author trying to break the phone and the battery exploded.

show me a phone that could live threw that 12yr old child's mind in a young mans body. So did apple pay for this test and how did the apple 5s do? :)

I am an Apple user, but I do not like videos like this because this is something different. Same thing will happen to Apple phones too but it's not good to highlight like this. Stop these kind of things... :P

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