A team of University of Tokyo researchers have developed a hard, glass-like polymer, which is able to "heal" itself with only hand pressure unlike other materials that require a great deal of heat to fix a break.
Researchers based in Japan have developed a type of glass that's capable of healing after it is broken, reports The Guardian.
"High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive", the researchers wrote in their paper.
This special glass was actually found by accident by a graduate student named Yu Yanagisawa, Yanagisawa thought that the material was going to turn to a glue like paste but was shocked at the discovery of the individual shard of glass reforming with each-other at just 21 degrees Celsius, hand temperature.
If you've ever had to deal with a cracked smartphone screen, you know what a hassle it can be.
He said: 'I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken'.
Yanagisawa found that when the surface of the polymer was cut the edges would adhere to each other, healing to form a strong sheet after being manually compressed for 30 seconds at 21°C. He also found that the material reverted back to its original strength after being left alone for a few hours.
They said that "in most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120°C or more, to reorganise their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the fractured portions to repair". That might sound like it could be an awesome breakthrough when it comes to cracked screens but questions still remain if it would be as responsive as other phone screens out there and if under screen fingerprint sensors would work through this material.
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