This Self-Healing Glass Could Fix Your Phone Woes

20 December, 2017, 01:31 | Author: Darren Santiago
  • End of the smashed phone screen? Self-healing glass discovered by accident

A tough, clear plastic that can be fixed with a squeeze of the hand when it cracks has been accidentally discovered by scientists in Japan.

Apparently, you only need to press the glass together by hand to melt the material, and have the screen glue itself up - I wonder how that would affect 3D Touch, an iPhone gesture that involves applying more pressure to the screen.

Researchers in Tokyo have discovered a new polymer that will be able to do just this and will be the future of self-healing phone screens.

As per a report in The Guardian, a team from the University of Tokyo headed by Professor Takuzo Aida succeeded in developing the self- mending glass which is called "polyether-thioureas".

Holding the fractured pieces together for just 30 seconds at 21 degrees celcius was enough to form a merged sheet capable of withstanding 300g in weight, the team found, and it returned to its original strength within a couple of hours, they found. The researchers quickly discovered the finding could be used in displays and chose to work more on it to see how useful it could be in the real world.

In an interview with NHK, Yanagisawa said that he repeated his experiments multiple times to confirm his findings. This isn't the first time we've seen self-repairing phone tech, of course, with screen protectors that heal themselves and a Motorola patent for a self-repairing screen.

"High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive", wrote the researchers. The study was published with the title of "Mechanically robust, readily repairable polymers via tailored noncovalent cross-linking". Unlike other self-healing materials, which require heat to perform their bonding behavior, this glass functions at room temperature. Instead, the researchers say that it usually takes about two hours for the polymer to fully fix itself and regain its original strength.

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