Self-healing glass could make cracked phone screens just a memory

20 December, 2017, 01:31 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Display

As well as signalling potentially cheaper repairs for consumers, it is also a more sustainable material as it won't have to be replaced as often.

A new kind of highly durable glass-like polymer that can heal on its own has been discovered by Professor Takuzo Aida's team of researchers from the University of Tokyo.

The discovery could be a boon for consumers who are forced to walk around with broken screens on their phones, provided companies decide to use it in their designs. Recently, scientists from the University of Tokyo has published a study on a new polymer for self-repairing smartphone screens.

Self-healing materials aren't new.

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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. Graduate school student Yu Yanagisawa found that when the surface of the material was cut, the edges would adhere to each other.

Self-healing glass was used in LG's 2015 G Flex 2, though it was only on the back of the phone and couldn't fix heavy damage.

The research provides that the fractured glass piece can be shaped back to the original form by compressing it up to 28 centigrade within an hour exposure of heat. What is better still is that the sheets would regain their strength after just a couple of hours.

As phone manufacturers race to implement the latest technologies into their handsets, it seems that self-repairing screens could eventually become the must-have mobile feature.

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'High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive, ' wrote the researchers.

"I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken", Yanagisawa said.

Other self-healing materials require heating to perform their bonding behavior.

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