A phone screen is highly susceptible to cracks and breaks when dropped. Due to the frequent use of smartphones everywhere, dropping a one at some point is almost inevitable. Cracked screen can make phones vulnerable to water damage. A recent discovery by Japanese researchers could mean the end of smashed smartphone screens.
A group of researchers led by Professor Takuzo Aida at the University of Tokyo says that they’ve created self-healing glass that could be used as a phone screen. The glass, a low weight polymer, can meld together cracks by using compression and hand heat.
A Phone Screen That Completely ‘Heals’ Back
The exact polymer used, called polyether-thioureas, was discovered accidentally when a graduate student at the university was using the material as glue. The student, Yu Yanagisawa, noticed the material’s cut edges adhering to each other after 30 seconds of compression. Over the span of a few hours, the polymer had completely been healed back to its original state and strength.
This discovery isn’t the first of its kind. Researchers at the University of California have had similar findings, and LG used a special coating on the back of their G Flex 2 smartphones that healed minor scratches over time. In 2015, iMend, a UK repair firm, commissioned research that found cracked screens and smashed displays affect over 21% of smartphone users.
Smashed screens are a major contributor to smartphone users ditching their old phones and upgrading to a new one. Many, including Yanagisawa, hope that this new discovery will help eliminate waste and make smartphones more environmentally friendly.
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