Scientists Accidentally Discovered a Fix for Your Shattered Phone Screen
It's self-healing and sustainable.
BY Sarah Rense | Dec 19, 2017 | Technology
In the not too distant future, Apple (or Samsung, or whoever) might not be able to gouge you with exorbitant fees ($130 plus!) if you drop your iPhone. Scientists in Japan have discovered a glass that can heal itself without extreme heat or pressure, and that could potentially come in handy for smartphone screens, the Guardian reports.
The glass was discovered by accident at the University of Tokyo when a graduate student found that a polymer material, which he intended to use as a glue, healed into a single sheet after being held together for 30 seconds at 21 degrees Celsius. He repeated the experiment multiple times, and each time got a flawless sheet of glass, one that regained its original strength after a few hours.
Normally, the researchers noted, you have to heat a material to 120 degrees Celsius for it to heal and gain back its strength. This new polymer glass, however, can do the same with a little bit of manual pressure at room temperature. And besides saving you the mild heart attack every time your phone slips from your fingers, the material is also a sustainable solution to all the broken glass we toss away.
If this futuristic glass polymer goes into production for smartphones, whether as a screen or a screen protector, living with a shattered phone—or paying the bill for a replacement—will be a thing of the past. That's one less part of your life to worry about fixing.