Newly discovered polymer could make shattered screens a thing of the past

20 December, 2017, 01:32 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • The breakthrough could lead to an end to smashed screens- as the glass would simply be able to heal itself

A tough, clear plastic that can be fixed with a squeeze of the hand when it cracks has been accidentally discovered by scientists in Japan. 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. University of Tokyo graduate student Yu Yanagisawa was planning on making the substance into a glue, but discovered the polymer's unusual qualities after noticing the edges would bond again after being cut. Professor Takuzo from the University of Tokyo published a study in Science called "Mechanically robust, readily repairable polymers via tailored non-covalent cross-linking", this new glass is called "polyether-thioureas" and will be able to heal itself with only the pressure from our hands.

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

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In an interview with NHK, Yanagisawa said that he repeated his experiments multiple times to confirm his findings. The new discovery could be revolutionary to the smartphone manufacturers, as broken display glass is one of the major problem faced by smartphone users.

'Expanding the range of healable materials is an important challenge for sustainable societies. "In most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120°C or more, to reorganize their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the fractured portions to fix".

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'This is because their polymer chains are heavily entangled and diffuse too sluggishly to unite fractured surfaces within reasonable timescales. "In most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120 degrees Celsius or more, to reorganize their cross-linked networks is necessary for the fractured portions to fix". As grad student Yu Yanagisawa was preparing to use the polymer as a glue, he found that edges that had been cut would start to bind with each other, forming a sheet with only mild compression in about 30 seconds.

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