Tesla has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a technique for making automotive glass that involves using localized heat to generate “aggressive” curves and folds. The company says its method allows the formation of glass in shapes and configurations “previously unavailable through conventional bending methods.”
Tesla writes that the method is used to form glass structures for vehicles, including cars, semi-trucks, trucks and more. Those structures apply to not only windshields but also windows and even interior glass. According to diagrams included in the application, Tesla may be planning to use the new method in the manufacture of auto glass for its uniquely-shaped Cybertruck because more options are available with respect to the shape of the glass.
According to Tesla, conventional means of making auto glass for use in windshields involves heating a flat sheet of glass in an oven until it bends or curves to a desired shape.
“Such systems and processes are not well adapted for processing glass to have sharp bends or to have localized bends or curves in the glass structure,” Tesla writes.
Tesla’s method, on the other hand, utilizes localized heat to achieve “aggressive” curves and folds in the glass. That heat can come from lasers, heating resistors, flame and plasma, etc.
“The localized heat causes regions or locations of glass to reach a higher temperature than the surrounding glass,” the application reads. “Thus, these regions or locations can bend or curve more easily than would occur based on the heat within the oven alone. Heating the glass in a localized manner, e.g., along a narrow region, allows for bending of the glass in a sharp manner …”
The application also outlines multilayer capabilities for the method that involves the two portions of glass meeting at the feature line of the first portion, and a polymer disposed between the two layers.
“Thus, glass structures may be formed in shapes and configurations which were previously unavailable through conventional bending methods,” Tesla writes. “In this way, the techniques … may provide for stronger glass structures with more aesthetic options not available with conventional automotive glass structure processes.”