Japanese researcher at the University of Tokyo has discovered a new glass material that can repair itself after break to pieces. Yes, you read that right. On the basis of a paper published by the researchers in the journal Science, the new form of glass is have the ability to repair itself after being shattered. That sounds like good news to us consumers, but not so for the glass manufacturing industry.
Glass made from a low-weight polymer called ‘polyether-thioureas’ can be made like new by applying a self-deprecating amount of pressure, they said. That’s compared to traditional glass that needs to be melted down and re-pressed.
The research, published in Science, by researchers led by Professor Takuzo Aida from the University of Tokyo, guaranteed that healable glass could have possibility to use in phone screens and other breakable devices, which they say are an important challenge for maintainable societies.
This does not mean we’ll be getting smartphone screens that can repair itself soon after it breaks anytime, but it open up the way for the manufacturing of a super-durable glass that could last three times longer than what we currently have which would influence products like car windows, construction materials, fish tanks and even toilet seats.
The researchers wrote in their paper that, “excessive mechanical robustness and healing capacity tend to be mutually exclusive,” the researchers wrote in their paper.
“In most of the cases, heating to raise temperatures, on 120°C or more, to restructure their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the smashed portions to repair”, Researchers claimed.
This is not the first time that researchers suggest polymer as a healable material for equipment like smartphones or other breakable devices. On the beginning of this year, researchers from the University of California recommended the use of polymers that heal breaks after 24 hours and could stretch up to 50 times its original size.
Currently, the evolution of self-healing glasses could be considered as a remarkable game changer in the smartphone industry. While it might influence the cost of mobile phones should smartphone manufacturers use healable materials in the future, it could still save consumers hundreds of dollars in costly glass repairs.