New Glass-Like Polymer with Selfie Healing Prowess Discovered

A shattered phone screen could soon become a thing of the past

A shattered phone screen could soon become a thing of the past

Now, though, scientists from the University of Tokyo have published a fascinating study in Science describing a new polymer for self-repairing smartphone screens.

Researchers said that the high mechanical strength and healing abilities tend to be mutually exclusive.

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Their method, however would only require mild compression (by hand) and a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 Fahrenheit).

Before that happens, there's a good chance the Japanese team's accidental discovery might heal another vulnerable extension of the human body: your bank balance, thanks to all the broken phone screens you won't have to fix or replace.

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According to the team, the glass is made possible thanks to a low weight polymer called "polyether-thiourea", which makes use of the compound thiourea to increase the ability of hydrogen bonding in the material when it is cut or broken. He found though, that after he cut the edges of the polymer what remained would stick to itself and form a hardened bond once compressed and heated ever-so-slightly.

Now that mobile phones have become a necessity in everyday life and a very large amount of the population carry the device, a common thought across peoples minds is the breaking of your precious phone screen and the annoyance of having to go and get it replaced.

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The self-healing method is different from the heat method, as now you would just need to apply pressure from your fingers to clear up the cracks. The new discovery could be revolutionary to the smartphone manufacturers, as broken display glass is one of the major problem faced by smartphone users. University of Tokyo graduate student Yu Yanagisawa was planning on making the substance into a glue, but discovered the polymer's odd qualities after noticing the edges would bond again after being cut. This lack of conduction was why the "self-healing" materials on the LG G Flex 2 were only used for the case rather than the screen.

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