A cracked screen can ruin your day, and not having the right repair options could ruin your month.
Gone are those days of Nokia 3310, when dropping your phone was no big deal. You pick it up, dust it off, and put it back in your pocket. These days, however, dropping your smartphone gives you that mini heart attack because (gasp!) you just might end up with a cracked screen. If you’ve ever had to deal with that, you know what a hassle it can be. Slapping a screen protector is the only stopgap until you have to have the screen replaced, which might burn a hole in your pocket. A team of Japanese researchers say they’ve discovered the holy grail of mobile computing. A new type of glass that can heal itself from cracks.
Titled “Mechanically robust, readily repairable polymers via tailored non-covalent cross-linking,” the research promises a unique hard glass-like polymer called “polyether-thioureas” that can heal itself with only hand pressure with a temperature of 21 degree Celsius . This makes it different than other materials that need high heat to heal up from a break.
According to The Guardian, a graduate student, Yu Yanagisawa discovered the special glass polymer by mistake. The student thought the material would become a type of glue. He found that cut edges of the polymer would stick to each other. It formed a strong sheet when compressed by hand at 21 degrees Celsius. Further experimentation found that the healed material regained its original strength after a couple of hours. Yanagisawa said that he didn’t believe the results at first and repeated his experiments multiple times to confirm the finding.
“I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken.” – Yanagisawa
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. LG’s G Flex 2 (2015) came with a coating on its back that was capable of healing minor scratches over time. It failed to completely repair heavier damage. However, new breakthroughs like this may help make cracked screen and costly repairs a thing of the past.
Let us know about your thoughts on this self-healing polyester in the comment section below.