Self-healing glass accidentally created by Japanese student could prevent smashed phones.
The info comes via a study – titled a rather unexciting “Mechanically robust, readily repairable polymers via tailored noncovalent cross-linking” – detailing the discovery by a graduate student of the University of Tokyo. It was published in the journal Science.
The student, Yu Yanagisawa, had initially thought that the material dubbed “polyether-thioureas” would create some sort of glue. But he later found that the cut edges of the material could stick to each other, forming a strong sheet, when compressed by hand at 21 degrees Celsius – unlike other materials that usually need high heat to meld together.
The polymer has been described as being “highly robust mechanically yet can readily be repaired by compression at fractured surfaces” and has plenty of potential uses. For one thing, it could be a great alternative to today’s displays that need expensive repairs. While there are already self-healing screen protectors, this new polymer requires nothing beyond some pressing.