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Establishment of Biel-PolyU Glass Research Joint Laboratory

10 Dec 2021

Department and Staff News

Dr Ruan Haihui, Associate Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at PolyU, has received an industrial support of 5 million HKD from the Biel Crystal (HK) Manufactory Limited for collaborative research on precision glass manufacturing.

The upcoming technologies have called for more usage of curved cover glasses in many areas including smartphones, wearable electronics, VR/AR glasses, and electronic vehicles. Such needs stem from the fact that human-machine interfaces must be transparent and anti-scratch. While glass covers can be thermoformed to have curved profiles that suit such needs, precision glass thermoforming is still extremely difficult owing to various quality issues arising from the lack of detailed know-how of the manufacturing process and in-depth knowledge in glass science.

In the past decade, the development of a manufacturing process for curved glass covers was extremely time-consuming and costly owing to enormous trials and errors; therefore, an upgrade to a computation-based process development protocol is urgently needed. To lay such a foundation for the industrial partner and the glass manufacturing industry, we establish the Biel-PolyU Glass Research Joint Laboratory (伯恩光學 - 香港理工大學玻璃研究聯合實驗室) to develop:

  1. computational models that predict stress buildup, relaxation, and deformation in chemical strengthening,
  2. computational protocols that assist the design of molds to compensate form errors due to shrinkage and chemical strengthening, and
  3. novel molding materials and mold manufacturing technology that keep the transparency of thermoformed glass and ensure high-volume production.

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