Japanese researchers have unveiled a new type of glass that can heal itself from cracks and breaks.
The groundbreaking new material could lead to virtually unbreakable phone screens.
The breakthrough was discovered by accident by a Japanese graduate student who was trying to glue something.
The new polymer glass is ‘highly robust mechanically yet can readily be repaired by compression at fractured surfaces’ the team wrote in the journal Science.
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 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 told NHK that he didn’t believe the results at first and repeated his experiments multiple times to confirm the finding.
He said: ‘I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken.’
‘High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive’ wrote the researchers.
‘Expanding the range of healable materials is an important challenge for sustainable societies.
‘Noncrystalline high molecular weight polymers generally form mechanically robust materials which however are difficult to repair once they are fractured.
‘This is because their polymer chains are heavily entangled and diffuse too sluggishly to unite fractured surfaces within reasonable timescales.
‘Here we report that low molecular weight polymers when cross-lixed by dense hydrogen bonds give mechanically robust yet readily repairable materials despite their extremely slow diffusion dynamics.’
Although other self healing materials have been made they require ‘in most cases heating to high temperatures on the order of 120°C or more to reorganise their cross-lixed networks is necessary for the fractured portions to repair’ the team said.
The research published in Science by researchers led by Professor Takuzo Aida from the University of Tokyo
“The improved curable epoxy resins which are useful as coatings castings sealants and adhesives show improved tensile shear strength flexural strength and ultimate elongation.”….this is from a patent that was filed in 1975 for polyether-thioureas….the same “unbreakable glass” this article is about….so what is the discovery again??
I see people with cracked screens and I just think they are idiots.They were not intelligent enough to buy a case for it to protect it
I see people with cases on their phones and think they are poor clumsy heavily medicated or have an alcohol issue that leads to severe phone dmage.
I see people with cracked screens who have bought protective glass and covers but can’t afford apples ￡150.00 to fix it Apple says local ￡25.00 fix will invalidate warranty
Hope the stuff does not melt.
my screen cracked and i had a case on it. s8 plus great phone but fragile
…I hope they’re thinking bigger than smartphone screens…