Self-healing glass would be ideal for smartphones

End of the smashed phone screen? Self-healing glass discovered by accident

An accidental discovery by researchers in Japan may bring a solution to the vulnerability of mobile screens.

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.

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.

While researching new kinds of adhesives, researchers at the University of Tokyo stumbled upon a type of glass that could fix its own cracks, according to Japan Today.

"High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive", the researchers in a report published in Science magazine and ResearchGate. This lack of conduction was why the "self-healing" materials on the LG G Flex 2 were only used for the case rather than the screen.

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.

More news: Significant cold coming our way and will last through Christmas

The properties of the polyether-thioureas glass were discovered by accident by graduate school student Yu Yanagisawa, who was preparing the material as a glue.

Yanagisawa said repeated the test several times, not fully believing what he had stumbled upon. The researchers quickly discovered the finding could be used in displays and made a decision to work more on it to see how useful it could be in the real world.

The researchers said the glass is "highly robust mechanically yet can readily be repaired by compression at fractured surfaces".

The glass returns to its original strength after a few hours.

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

This is not the first time that any such self-repairing phone technology has been proposed, there were earlier studies on self-repairing screen protectors and a Motorola patent about a self-healing screen.

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