SELF-HEALING DISPLAY GLASS
Thanks to a new polymer compound, broken displays could soon be a thing of the past.
It’s happened to us all: in a moment of inattention, your mobile or tablet takes a tumble and suddenly the cracked display looks more like a work of modern art. Who hasn’t rushed to the closest repair shop hoping the display can be replaced and the device saved, especially if it’s brand new.
This disaster of modern life could soon be only a memory. While healable polymers are by no means new, so far they’ve only been possible with soft substances. Many also require extremely high temperatures to start the recovery process. The University of Tokyo has now discovered a polymer compound that could be called "self-healing glass".
Thiourea is a polyether that re-fuses into a whole when pressure is applied to the fractured area. In just a few hours, it is just as strong as before it broke. The newly discovered material is not yet in industrial use, but it’s not hard to imagine that we may soon have indestructible cell phone and computer displays, windows and glass bottles.